Longterm Phosphorus Translocation by Deer Antlers

Start date: 01.08.2011
Funded by: Universität Augsburg
Local project leader: Dr. M. Fesq-Martin
Local scientists: Prof. Dr. Arne Friedmann


Cervids like red deer, wapiti, caribou and ren show seasonal migrations between summer- and winter grazing grounds. These deer species produce new antlers annually, which contain a high amount of phosphorus. The decay of the antlers brings phosphorus back to remineralisation. To evaluate the potential for longterm effects on vegetation, we examine the way and amount of antlers decay under natural conditions. If antlers play a functional role in phosphorus fertilisation of vegetation, this could be an explanation for the evolution of female antlers in caribou and ren.