Limits...
Caribou, water, and ice - fine-scale movements of a migratory arctic ungulate in the context of climate change.

Leblond M, St-Laurent MH, Côté SD - Mov Ecol (2016)

Bottom Line: Although ice phenology did not change significantly during our study, climate projections indicated that ice availability could decrease considerably before the end of the century, generating a ~28 % increase in distance travelled by caribou during the early spring and fall migrations.We demonstrated that ice availability influenced the movements of a migratory arctic ungulate.The long-term conservation of wide-ranging species will ultimately depend on our ability to identify the fine-scale behavioural reactions of individuals to broad-scale changes in climate and land use.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Caribou Ungava, Département de biologie, and Center for Northern Studies, Université Laval, 1045 avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC G1V 0A6 Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: Freshwater lakes and rivers of the Northern Hemisphere have been freezing increasingly later and thawing increasingly earlier during the last century. With reduced temporal periods during which ice conditions are favourable for locomotion, freshwater bodies could become impediments to the inter-patch movements, dispersion, or migration of terrestrial animals that use ice-covered lakes and rivers to move across their range. Studying the fine-scale responses of individuals to broad-scale changes in ice availability and phenology would help to understand how animals react to ongoing climate change, and contribute to the conservation and management of endangered species living in northern environments. Between 2007 and 2014, we equipped 96 migratory caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou from the Rivière-aux-Feuilles herd in northern Québec (Canada) with GPS telemetry collars and studied their space use. We measured contemporary (digital MODIS maps updated every 8 days, 2000-2014) and historical (annual observations, 1947-1985) variations in freshwater-ice availability and evaluated the concurrent responses of caribou to these changes.

Results: Ice had a positive influence on caribou movement rates and directionality, and caribou selected ice and avoided water when moving across or in the vicinity of large water bodies. When ice was unavailable, caribou rarely swam across (6 % of crossings) and frequently circumvented water bodies for several km. Although ice phenology did not change significantly during our study, climate projections indicated that ice availability could decrease considerably before the end of the century, generating a ~28 % increase in distance travelled by caribou during the early spring and fall migrations.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that ice availability influenced the movements of a migratory arctic ungulate. Warmer air temperatures in the Arctic will undoubtedly modify the phenology of ice forming on freshwater lakes and rivers. If migratory caribou are unable to adjust the timing of their migrations, they could be forced to circumvent unfrozen water bodies more frequently and over broader areas, which may increase the distance, time, and energy they use to reach wintering areas. The long-term conservation of wide-ranging species will ultimately depend on our ability to identify the fine-scale behavioural reactions of individuals to broad-scale changes in climate and land use.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Trends in thawing and freezing dates for the largest water bodies used by migratory caribou. Thawing (circles) and freezing dates (triangles) were based on 8-day averaged MODIS values from 2000 to 2014. Values were truncated for the largest lakes, rivers, and reservoirs included in the range of the migratory Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herd (see list in Additional file 2). Regressions were: Thawing date = 930.4 ˗ 0.39(Year), and Freezing date = 94.9 + 0.11(Year)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4837602&req=5

Fig3: Trends in thawing and freezing dates for the largest water bodies used by migratory caribou. Thawing (circles) and freezing dates (triangles) were based on 8-day averaged MODIS values from 2000 to 2014. Values were truncated for the largest lakes, rivers, and reservoirs included in the range of the migratory Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herd (see list in Additional file 2). Regressions were: Thawing date = 930.4 ˗ 0.39(Year), and Freezing date = 94.9 + 0.11(Year)

Mentions: Between 2000 and 2014, the largest water bodies used by caribou went from mostly frozen to mostly thawed as early as May 13th (2010) and as late as June 13th (2004), with an average thawing date of May 28th (±8.8 days standard deviation, SD). Water bodies began freezing as early as November 9th (2002) and as late as November 26th (2005), with an average freezing date of November 19th (±5.1 days SD). Windows of opportunity during which ice was available for caribou ranged from a maximum of 201 days in 2009 to a minimum of 168 days in 2010. There was no statistically significant trend in thawing and freezing dates during this 15-year period (thawing: F = 0.50, df = 13, P = 0.49; freezing: F = 0.13, df = 13, P = 0.72; Fig. 3). Similarly, no statistically significant trend was observed for Lake Nichicun during the 1947–1985 period (see Additional file 3). Breakup dates of the largest lakes used by migratory caribou and Lake Nichicun were related to the NAO in May, whereas their freeze dates were related to the NAO in October and the AO in September (see Additional file 4).Fig. 3


Caribou, water, and ice - fine-scale movements of a migratory arctic ungulate in the context of climate change.

Leblond M, St-Laurent MH, Côté SD - Mov Ecol (2016)

Trends in thawing and freezing dates for the largest water bodies used by migratory caribou. Thawing (circles) and freezing dates (triangles) were based on 8-day averaged MODIS values from 2000 to 2014. Values were truncated for the largest lakes, rivers, and reservoirs included in the range of the migratory Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herd (see list in Additional file 2). Regressions were: Thawing date = 930.4 ˗ 0.39(Year), and Freezing date = 94.9 + 0.11(Year)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4837602&req=5

Fig3: Trends in thawing and freezing dates for the largest water bodies used by migratory caribou. Thawing (circles) and freezing dates (triangles) were based on 8-day averaged MODIS values from 2000 to 2014. Values were truncated for the largest lakes, rivers, and reservoirs included in the range of the migratory Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herd (see list in Additional file 2). Regressions were: Thawing date = 930.4 ˗ 0.39(Year), and Freezing date = 94.9 + 0.11(Year)
Mentions: Between 2000 and 2014, the largest water bodies used by caribou went from mostly frozen to mostly thawed as early as May 13th (2010) and as late as June 13th (2004), with an average thawing date of May 28th (±8.8 days standard deviation, SD). Water bodies began freezing as early as November 9th (2002) and as late as November 26th (2005), with an average freezing date of November 19th (±5.1 days SD). Windows of opportunity during which ice was available for caribou ranged from a maximum of 201 days in 2009 to a minimum of 168 days in 2010. There was no statistically significant trend in thawing and freezing dates during this 15-year period (thawing: F = 0.50, df = 13, P = 0.49; freezing: F = 0.13, df = 13, P = 0.72; Fig. 3). Similarly, no statistically significant trend was observed for Lake Nichicun during the 1947–1985 period (see Additional file 3). Breakup dates of the largest lakes used by migratory caribou and Lake Nichicun were related to the NAO in May, whereas their freeze dates were related to the NAO in October and the AO in September (see Additional file 4).Fig. 3

Bottom Line: Although ice phenology did not change significantly during our study, climate projections indicated that ice availability could decrease considerably before the end of the century, generating a ~28 % increase in distance travelled by caribou during the early spring and fall migrations.We demonstrated that ice availability influenced the movements of a migratory arctic ungulate.The long-term conservation of wide-ranging species will ultimately depend on our ability to identify the fine-scale behavioural reactions of individuals to broad-scale changes in climate and land use.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Caribou Ungava, Département de biologie, and Center for Northern Studies, Université Laval, 1045 avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC G1V 0A6 Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: Freshwater lakes and rivers of the Northern Hemisphere have been freezing increasingly later and thawing increasingly earlier during the last century. With reduced temporal periods during which ice conditions are favourable for locomotion, freshwater bodies could become impediments to the inter-patch movements, dispersion, or migration of terrestrial animals that use ice-covered lakes and rivers to move across their range. Studying the fine-scale responses of individuals to broad-scale changes in ice availability and phenology would help to understand how animals react to ongoing climate change, and contribute to the conservation and management of endangered species living in northern environments. Between 2007 and 2014, we equipped 96 migratory caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou from the Rivière-aux-Feuilles herd in northern Québec (Canada) with GPS telemetry collars and studied their space use. We measured contemporary (digital MODIS maps updated every 8 days, 2000-2014) and historical (annual observations, 1947-1985) variations in freshwater-ice availability and evaluated the concurrent responses of caribou to these changes.

Results: Ice had a positive influence on caribou movement rates and directionality, and caribou selected ice and avoided water when moving across or in the vicinity of large water bodies. When ice was unavailable, caribou rarely swam across (6 % of crossings) and frequently circumvented water bodies for several km. Although ice phenology did not change significantly during our study, climate projections indicated that ice availability could decrease considerably before the end of the century, generating a ~28 % increase in distance travelled by caribou during the early spring and fall migrations.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that ice availability influenced the movements of a migratory arctic ungulate. Warmer air temperatures in the Arctic will undoubtedly modify the phenology of ice forming on freshwater lakes and rivers. If migratory caribou are unable to adjust the timing of their migrations, they could be forced to circumvent unfrozen water bodies more frequently and over broader areas, which may increase the distance, time, and energy they use to reach wintering areas. The long-term conservation of wide-ranging species will ultimately depend on our ability to identify the fine-scale behavioural reactions of individuals to broad-scale changes in climate and land use.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus