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climate impact on
the ecosystem
    Greater Snow Goose
  Introduction  
  Greater Snow Goose  
  Wetland Productivity  
  Mesic Communities  
  Other Animal Species  
 
Extensively studied since 1989, the Greater Snow Goose is the species for which we accumulated the longest dataset. These 15 years of data provide a good opportunity to evaluate the relationships between the ecology of this species and climatic factors. mother goose with goslings - mère oie avec jeunes © Anna M. Calvert

Previous projects from our team partially addressed the question by investigating the relationship between weather conditions and specific reproductive parameters of the Greater Snow Goose. One of these projects looked at the relationship between goose egg laying date and the percentage of snow cover on June 5. This study revealed that egg laying dates are strongly influenced by the percentage of snow cover and that eggs are laid later in years of late snowmelt*. This result is interesting from an ecological point of view since late-nesting geese tend to have lower reproductive success than early-nesting ones.

 

A second project investigated the relationship between snow cover on June 5 and the probability that a female Greater Snow Goose will breed. Results from this study showed that with a greater snow cover on June 5, female geese are less likely to breed**.

 

Many potential relationships between Snow Goose reproduction and climatic factors remain to be investigated. A detail analysis of these relationships will be the focus of a new project that started in 2003. The results from this project will eventually be available.

 


* BÊTY, J., G. GAUTHIER AND J.-F. GIROUX. 2003. Body Condition, Migration, and Timing of Reproduction in Snow Geese: A test of the Condition-Dependent Model of Optimal Clutch Size. The American Naturalist 162(1): 110-121.

** REED, E.T. 2003. Coûts des soins parentaux et effets des conditions environnementales sur la reproduction de la Grande Oie des Neiges. Ph.D. Thesis, Université Laval, Québec, PQ, Canada.