Is the grass greener on the other side? Can Pink-footed Geese adapt to climate change by colonizing newly available Arctic breeding habitat?

K.H.T. Schreven, Jesper Madsen, B.A. Nolet

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterPopularizing

Abstract

In the Arctic, the climate has warmed more rapidly than in temperate regions. As a result, migratory Arctic-breeding birds have become phenologically mismatched with their food in the breeding areas. On the other hand, rising temperatures have caused new areas to become snow-free early in the season. These areas have a later growing season and by colonizing these areas birds may regain a match with their food. Both processes need to be studied to be able to predict how populations of Arctic breeding birds will respond to further climate change. On Svalbard, Pink-footed Geese traditionally nest in the west, but are now invading new areas the east, where the growing season starts later. We aim to see (1) if the birds in the east arrive and breed later, but earlier after the local snowmelt and relative to the local food peak, than birds in the west; (2) if in the east bigger broods are raised, and in better body condition; (3) if birds from the east and west are genetically differentiated, which may be expected because of the male dispersal, strong female philopatry, and socially learned migration in this species; (4) if and where the migratory routes and timing differ between birds from both areas; (5) if personalities of birds from both areas differ, i.e. aggression and exploration; and (6) if and when year-round time and energy budgets differ between birds from both areas. The main approach is tracking female geese with GPS collars. This poster summarises the plans for a PhD.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 09 Mar 2019

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