Environmental change, including global warming, can lead to directional changes over time in phenotypic traits such as sex- and age-specific body mass. We evaluated the potential short-term effects of a series of hot and dry springs and early summers on mass of yearling chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) in 2 populations in the western Alps. Yearling mass decreased in both populations over the study period, but much of this decline seemed to originate from a sharp drop in 2003, after which body mass remained low. Our analysis suggested that this decrease was caused by the additive effects of warm springs and summers over the first 2 years of life. The mass of adult chamois also decreased over time. These results suggest that ongoing warming in the Alps could be a selective pressure on the life history and reproductive strategies of wild ungulates.
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Vol. 93 • No. 5