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Barnacle goose population dynamics: investigating climate and density dependence

The Ny-Ă…lesund barnacle goose population has been studied in great detail since 1989, including intensive mark-recapture and repeated catch. The main aim is to quantify the effects of density dependence, climate and trophic interactions on their population dynamics.

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Project date

Starts
2016-05-01

Ends
2020-05-01

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Project type

  • field work
  • modelling
  • long-term monitoring
  • arctic field grant (afg)

Discipline

  • terrestrial biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / ecological dynamics / species/population interactions
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Summary

The Ny-Ă…lesund barnacle goose population has been studied in great detail since 1989, including intensive mark-recapture and repeated catches over the summer period. After release from hunting, this population reached a carrying capacity in the late 1990s and has since experienced consistent declines. Strong evidence of density dependence on this population have thus been observed (Kuijper et al., 2009), however, there have been few conclusive findings in relation to the effects of climatic change (Trinder et al., 2009). The main focuses of this research is thus to (1) quantify to what extent direct density dependence is the driver of these declines and (2) to disentangle this from the potential effects of climate and interactions with other trophic levels. Bayesian modelling techniques will be used to accurately estimate life history parameters and population growth rate and finally to predict how this population will respond to future environmental change.

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