Travels in a changing world : flexibility and constraints in migration and breeding of the barnacle goose

  • Flexibility and constraints in migration and breeding of the barnacle goose Maximising fitness means, to a large extent, optimising management of time and energy. This thesis investigates aspects of timing and resource acquisition and utilisation in the barnacle goose Branta leucopsis during spring migration and reproduction. The barnacle goose population wintering along the Wadden Sea coast, and traditionally migrating via a stopover in the Baltic to its breeding sites in northern Russia, has shown some remarkable developments, among them, a geometric growth rate since the 1950s and a notable change in the timing of departure from the wintering grounds. Furthermore, long being regarded as an obligate Arctic breeder, within the past three decades this species has successfully colonised a wide variety of habitats at temperate latitudes, thereby shortening the migratory distances considerably or refraining from migration altogether. These remarkable changes raise questions about the flexibility of migratory and reproductive schedules. What are the costs and benefits of different migration strategies? And, given the context of global change, to what extent are animals capable of adapting to rapidly changing environments? In order to answer these questions we tracked migratory geese by satellite and with the help of data loggers and, furthermore, explored possible relationships of migratory behaviour and breeding performance. Another central thesis topic represents a within-species comparison of major life-history traits in populations breeding along a large ecological gradient from arctic to temperate environments. Fieldwork was conducted in arctic Russia, Sweden and The Netherlands.

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Author:Götz Eichhorn
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2009/10/02
Year of first Publication:2008
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2009/10/02
Tag:barnacle goose
Source:Zugl.: Groningen, Univ., Diss., 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht