KNAW Fonds ecologie - Tracking Pink-footed Geese on a new spring migration route to newly colonised breeding areas in the Arctic.

Project Details


The study of the causes and consequences of such extreme colonization of Novaya Zemlya, fits within the
scope of my PhD but is on a completely different scale than within Svalbard as originally planned. For the
colonizing geese on Novaya Zemlya, the same advantage may apply as hypothesized for the colonizers of
new breeding areas on Svalbard. From the first tracks, we established that the arrival date of geese on
Novaya Zemlya was mid to late May, which is the same on Svalbard. However, Novaya Zemlya has later
snowmelt (i.e. June) than western Svalbard (i.e. early-late May).
The unique opportunity to study geese on a completely newly colonized area, has led me to apply for this
KNAW Ecology grant. I aim to see if geese breeding on Novaya Zemlya are better matched with local food
availability, and thus better able to cope with the effects of climate change than geese breeding on
Svalbard (the traditional breeding area). For this, I will focus on arrival date (relative to local snowmelt
and vegetation greenness), reproductive success, migration timing, food intake during migration and
energy budgets. Additionally, I aim to compare personality traits of the geese breeding in the two areas.
Effective start/end date01/04/201930/06/2022


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