18, avenue Antonine-Maillet
Université de Moncton
New Brunswick, Canada
Multiple natural and anthropic perturbations can affect ecosystem dynamic. For example, climate change can modify abiotic and biotic components of the system (Bellard et al., 2012). Thereby, ecosystems functioning can be altered by new exploitation dynamics of resources by predators and their preys (Walther, 2010; Gauthier et al., 2013) through behavioural modifications. Very few studies focused on impacts of climate change in species behavior and consequences on their life history traits.
Over the last 20 years the increase in summer rainfall abundance in the High Arctic could explain the nesting success improvement of the greater snow goose (Lecomte et al., 2009). Geese are more successful in repelling predators due to the increase in water availability. At the same time, an increase in summer temperatures could improve food availability during incubation recesses. During my PhD project, I want to quantify precipitation, temperature and primary production effects on geese nesting success mediated by predator-prey interactions on Bylot Island (Nunavut, Canada).
One of the project approaches will be an experimental food and water supplementation of incubating females in natural conditions. We will monitor their body condition and their nesting success. The body condition of females will be obtained with fecal analysis harvested during the incubation. Behavioural observations will quantify the resource availability during incubation and the predation pressure mainly applied by the Arctic fox. This study will consider lemming cycles because they are the principal prey source of the main predator (Arctic fox) of goose nest. Moreover, using long-term dataset, path analysis and modeling, this project will extend our understanding of the climate effects on Arctic predator-prey interactions and Arctic migratory birds. It will provide essential information to improve the management of greater snow goose populations, which is strongly fostered by perturbations in its distribution area.
Bellard, C., Bertelsmeier, C., Leadley, P., Thuiller, W., Courchamp, F., 2012. Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity. Ecology letters, 15(4), 365-377. DOI : 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01736.x
Gauthier, G., Bêty, J., Cadieux, M. C., Legagneux, P., Doiron, M., Chevallier, C., Lai, S., Tarroux, A., Berteaux, D., 2013. Long-term monitoring at multiple trophic levels suggests heterogeneity in responses to climate change in the Canadian Arctic tundra. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368(1624), 20120482. DOI : 10.1098/rstb.2012.0482
Lecomte, N., Gauthier, G., Giroux, J. F., 2009. A link between water availability and nesting success mediated by predator-prey interactions in the Arctic. Ecology, 90(2), 465-475. DOI :10.1890/08-0215.1
Walther, G. R., 2010. Community and ecosystem responses to recent climate change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 365(1549), 2019-2024. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0021
Juhasz, C.-C., Lycke, A., Careau, V., Gauthier, G., Giroux, J.-F., Lecomte, N., 2018. Picking the right cache: Caching-site selection for egg predators in the Arctic. Polar Biology, 41(11): 2233-2238. DOI: 10.1007/s00300-018-2358-6.