Rapid climate warming is driving organisms to advance timing of reproduction with earlier springs, but the rate of advancement shows large variation, even among populations of the same species. In this study, we investigated how the rate of advancement in timing of reproduction with a warming climate varies for barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) populations breeding at different latitudes in the Arctic. We hypothesized that populations breeding further North are generally more time constrained and, therefore, produce clutches earlier relative to the onset of spring than southern populations. Therefore, with increasing temperatures and a progressive relief of time constraint, we expected latitudinal differences to decrease. For the years 2000–2016, we determined the onset of spring from snow cover data derived from satellite images, and compiled data on egg laying date and reproductive performance in one low-Arctic and two high-Arctic sites. As expected, high-Arctic geese laid their eggs earlier relative to snowmelt than low-Arctic geese. Contrary to expectations, advancement in laying dates was similar in high- and low-Arctic colonies, at a rate of 27% of the advance in date of snowmelt. Although advancement of egg laying did not fully compensate for the advancement of snowmelt, geese laying eggs at intermediate dates in the low Arctic were the most successful breeders. In the high Arctic, however, early nesting geese were the most successful breeders, suggesting that high-Arctic geese have not advanced their laying dates sufficiently to earlier springs. This indicates that high-Arctic geese especially are vulnerable to negative effects of climate warming.
Lameris, T., de Jong, M. E., Boom, M. P., van der Jeugd, H. P., Litvin, K. E., Loonen, M. J. J. E., Nolet, B. A., & Prop, J. (2019). Climate warming may affect the optimal timing of reproduction for migratory geese differently in the low and high Arctic. Oecologia, 191(4), 1003-1014. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-019-04533-7