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Wing moult in Barnacle Geese shifts following climate change (moultshift)

Since 1990, barnacle geese have reacted on climate change by starting their breeding season more than 10 weeks earlier. The simultaneous wing moult always started 17 days after hatching and has changed too. But recent data suggest a longer interval between hatch and moult, slower moult and differences in timing of moult between the sexes.

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Project date

Starts
2019-11-25

Ends
2021-02-01

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Project type

  • field work
  • arctic field grant (afg)

Discipline

  • terrestrial biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / ecological dynamics / species/population interactions
  • biosphere / terrestrial ecosystems
  • biosphere / zoology

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Summary

In a 30-year time series, barnacle geese have advanced their breeding season in two clear warm seasons (2006 and 2016) following the general advancement in spring snow melt of 0.4 days a year. Thirty years ago, 17 days after hatch of the juveniles, the adult geese start their primary moult and are flightless for 28 days. Both parents moult highly synchronized with eachother and their young and were able to fly almost at the same day. With the advancement of the start of breeding also the timing of moult has advanced. A preliminary analysis suggest a longer time interval between hatch and moult, a lower speed of feather growth and more asynchrony between the two sexes with males being slower than females. Data on the timing of moult are collected by visual observations (when are the primaries disappearing and when are they returning in individually marked geese) and by measuring the length of the longest primary during catches, when groups of moulting geese are driven in a catch pen). We want to combine timing of breeding based on the hatch date of the goslings and start of moult based on visual observations and/or backdating primary length during catch. By collecting intensive observations in 2020 but also by analyzing the dataseries from 1990 onwards. The preliminary analysis presented above needs statistical scrutiny to be tested. The duration of the flightless period is highly relevant for survival as this is usually a dangerous period with a lot of predation by arctic foxes. Literature Lameris, T.K., M.E. de Jong, M.P. Boom, H.P. van der Jeugd, K. E. Litvin, M.J.J.E. Loonen, B.A. Nolet & J. Prop (2019) Climate warming may affect the optimal timing of reproduction for migratory geese differently in the low and high Arctic. Oecologia (online pre pubication) doi: 10.s00442-019-04533-7 Loonen, M.J.J.E., K. Larsson, I.T. van der Veen & P. Forslund (1997) Timing of wing moult and growth of young in Arctic and temperate breeding barnacle Geese. In: Loonen, M.J.J.E., Goose breeding ecology: overcoming successive hurdles to raise goslings. Dissertation, University of Groningen. ISBN 90-367-0832-X Van Der Jeugd, H. P., G. Eichhorn, K.E. Litvin, J. Stahl, K. Larsson, A.J. van der Graaf & R.H. Drent (2009). Keeping up with early springs: rapid range expansion in an avian herbivore incurs a mismatch between reproductive timing and food supply. Global Change Biology 15: 1057-1071.

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