Tyler, J.C and Forchhammer, Mads C. and Øritsland, Nils Are (2008) NONLINEAR EFFECTS OF CLIMATE AND DENSITY IN THE DYNAMICS OF A FLUCTUATING POPULATION OF REINDEER. Ecology. pp. 1675-1686.
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Nonlinear and irregular population dynamics may arise as a result of phase dependence and coexistence of multiple attractors. Here we explore effects of climate and density in the dynamics of a highly fluctuating population of wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) on Svalbard observed over a period of 29 years. Time series analyses revealed that density dependence and the effects of local climate (measured as the degree of ablation [melting] of snow during winter) on numbers were both highly nonlinear: direct negative density dependence was found when the population was growing (Rt . 0) and during phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) characterized by winters with generally high (1979– 1995) and low (1996–2007) indices, respectively. A growth-phase-dependent model explained the dynamics of the population best and revealed the influence of density-independent processes on numbers that a linear autoregressive model missed altogether. In particular, the abundance of reindeer was enhanced by ablation during phases of growth (Rt . 0), an observation that contrasts with the view that periods of mild weather in winter are normally deleterious for reindeer owing to icing of the snowpack. Analyses of vital rates corroborated the nonlinearity described in the population time series and showed that both starvation mortality in winter and fecundity were nonlinearly related to fluctuations in density and the level of ablation. The erratic pattern of growth of the population of reindeer in Adventdalen seems, therefore, to result from a combination of the effects of nonlinear density dependence, strong density-dependent mortality, and variable density independence related to ablation in winter. Key words: Arctic; attractors; climate; density dependence; mortality; nonlinear population dynamics; North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO); phase dependence; phase–space geometry; Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus; reindeer; Svalbard.
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||reindeer, climate change, Svlabard, populations|
|Subjects:||Natural Environment > Fauna
Peoples, Cultures and Societies > Indigenous Peoples
|Organizations:||International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR)|
|Date Deposited:||05 Jun 2009 10:10|
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