Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 11, pp 1363–1372

Effects of snow cover on the timing and success of reproduction in high-Arctic pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus

  • Jesper Madsen
  • Mikkel Tamstorf
  • Marcel Klaassen
  • Nina Eide
  • Christian Glahder
  • Frank Rigét
  • Helene Nyegaard
  • Fred Cottaar
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-007-0296-9

Cite this article as:
Madsen, J., Tamstorf, M., Klaassen, M. et al. Polar Biol (2007) 30: 1363. doi:10.1007/s00300-007-0296-9

Abstract

During four breeding seasons, 2003–2006, we studied the relationship between snow cover and nesting performance in pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) in a key breeding site on Svalbard. Snow cover in late May, i.e., at the time of egg laying of geese, was derived from MODIS satellite images. Snow cover had a profound cascading effect on reproductive output via the number of nesting pairs and timing of nesting, which affected nest success, while there was only a tendency for a negative effect on clutch size. Hence, we estimated a five-fold difference in the number of young produced (to post-hatching) between years with little snow and years with high snow cover. The results from the study area correlated with whole-population productivity estimates recorded in autumn. Thus, snow cover derived from MODIS satellite images appears to provide a useful indicator of the breeding conditions in the Arctic.

Keywords

Annual variationBreeding successMigratory birdsMODISNest-site availabilitySatellite images

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesper Madsen
    • 1
  • Mikkel Tamstorf
    • 1
  • Marcel Klaassen
    • 2
  • Nina Eide
    • 3
  • Christian Glahder
    • 1
  • Frank Rigét
    • 1
  • Helene Nyegaard
    • 1
  • Fred Cottaar
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Arctic Environment, National Environmental Research InstituteUniversity of AarhusRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Centre for LimnologyMaarssenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchLillehammerNorway
  4. 4.HaarlemThe Netherlands