Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 128–138 | Cite as

Environmental change and the cost of philopatry: an example in the lesser snow goose

  • E. G. Cooch
  • R. L. Jefferies
  • R. F. Rockwell
  • F. Cooke
Original Papers

Abstract

The consequences of philopatric and dispersal behaviours under changing environmental conditions were examined using data from the colony of Lesser Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens caerulescens) breeding at La Pérouse Bay, Manitoba, Canada. In response to increased population size and decreased food abundance over time, increasing numbers of family groups have been dispersing from the traditional feeding areas. Goslings from dispersed broods were significantly heavier (7.3%), and had longer culmens (3.1%), head lengths (2.6%) and marginally longer tarsi (1.9%) on average than goslings that remained within La Pérouse Bay itself. These differences were consistent in each of 5 years. There was no evidence that the larger size of dispersed goslings was due to either a tendency for larger adults to disperse to alternative sites, or increased mortality of smaller goslings among dispersed broods. The most likely cause for the larger size of goslings from dispersed broods was the significantly greater per capita availability of the preferred salt-marsh forage species at non-traditional brood-rearing areas. The larger goslings in non-traditional feeding areas showed significantly higher firstyear survival, suggesting that the use of deteriorating traditional feeding areas may currently be maladaptive in this population.

Key words

Anser caerulescens caerulescens Body size Feeding area Philopatry Salt-marshes 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ankney CD (1980) Egg weight, survival, and growth of lesser snow goose goslings. J Wild Manage 44:174–182Google Scholar
  2. BMDP Statistical Software (1990) Statistical Software Manual Dixon WJ, (ed) University of California Press, Berkeley, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyd R, Richerson PJ (1985) The evolution of culture in animals. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  4. Cargill SM, Jefferies RL (1984) The effect of grazing by Lesser Snow Geese on the vegetation of a sub-arctic salt marsh. J Appl Ecol 21:669–686Google Scholar
  5. Cooch EG, Cooke F (1991) Demographic changes in a Snow Goose population: biological and demographic implications. In: Perrins CM, Lebreton J-D, Hirons GJM (eds) Bird Population Studies. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 168–189Google Scholar
  6. Cooch EG, Lank DB, Rockwell RF, Cooke F (1989) Long-term decline in fecundity in a snow goose population: evidence for density dependence? J Anim Ecol 58:711–726Google Scholar
  7. Cooch EG, Lank DB, Dzubin A, Rockwell RF, Cooke F (1991a) Body size variation in lesser snow geese: environmental plasticity in gosling growth rates. Ecology 72:503–512Google Scholar
  8. Cooch EG, Lank DB, Rockwell RF, Cooke F (1991b) Long-term decline in body size in a snow goose population: evidence of environmental degradation. J Anim Ecol 60:483–496Google Scholar
  9. Cooch EG, Lank DB, Roekwell RF, Cooke F (1992) Is there a relationship between body size and fecundity in lesser snow geese? Auk (in press)Google Scholar
  10. Cooke F, Abraham KF (1980) Habitat and locality selection in Lesser Snow Geese: the role of previous experience. Proc XVII Int Ornithol Congr, Berlin, pp 998–1004Google Scholar
  11. Cooke F, MacInnes CD, Prevett JP (1975) Gene flow between breeding populations of Lesser Snow Geese. Auk 93:493–510Google Scholar
  12. Cooke F, Findlay CS, Rockwell RF, Smith JA (1983) Life history studies of the lesser snow goose (Anser caerulescens caerulescens). Evolution 39:165–177Google Scholar
  13. Davies JC, Rockwell RF, Cooke F (1988) Body size variation and fitness components in Lesser Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens). Auk 105:639–648Google Scholar
  14. Findlay CS, Cooke F (1982) Synchrony in the Lesser Snow Goose Anser caerulescens caerulescens; II. The adaptive value of reproductive synchrony. Envolution 36:786–799Google Scholar
  15. Finney G, Cooke F (1978) Reproductive habits in the snow goose: the influence of female age. Condor 80:147–158Google Scholar
  16. Francis CM, Richards MH, Cooke F, Rockwell RF (1992) Long-term changes in survival rates of Lesser Snow Geese. Ecology 73:1346–1362Google Scholar
  17. Freeman S, Jackson WM (1990) Univariate metrics are not adequate to measure avian body size. Auk 107:69–74Google Scholar
  18. Greenwood PJ (1980) Mating systems, philopatry and dispersal in birds and mammals. Anim Behav 28:1140–1162Google Scholar
  19. Harwood J (1977) Summer feeding ecology of Lesser Snow. Geese. J Wildl Manage 41:48–55Google Scholar
  20. Hastings A (1983) Can spatial variation alone lead to selection for dispersal? Theor Popul Biol 24:244–51Google Scholar
  21. Healey RF, Cooke F, Colgan PW (1980) Demographic consequences of snow goose brood rearing traditions. J Wildl Manage 44:900–905Google Scholar
  22. Hik DS, Jefferies RL (1990) Increases in the net above-ground primary production of a salt-marsh forage grass: a test of predictions of the herbivore-optimization model. J Ecol 78:180–195Google Scholar
  23. Hik DS, Sadul HA, Jefferies RL (1991) Effects of the timing of multiple grazing by geese on net above-ground primary productivity of swards of Puccinellia phryganodes. J Ecol 79:715–730Google Scholar
  24. Jefferies RL (1988a) Vegetational mosaics: plant-animal interactions, and resources for plant growth. In: Gottlieb LD, Jain SK (eds) Plant Evolutionary Biology. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 340–361Google Scholar
  25. Jefferies RL (1988b) Pattern and process in arctic coastal vegetation in response to foraging by Lesser Snow Geese. In: Weger MJA, van der Aart PJM, During HJ, Verhoeven JTA (eds) Plant Form and Vegetational Structure, Adaptation, Plasticity and Relationship to Herbivory. Academic Publishers, The Hague, pp 341–369Google Scholar
  26. Kerbes RH, Kotanen PM, Jefferies RL (1990) Destruction of wetland habitats by lesser snow geese: a keystone species on the west coast of Hudson Bay. J Appl Ecol 27:242–258Google Scholar
  27. Krebs CJ, Gaines MS, Keller BL, Meyers JH, Tamarin RH (1973) Population cycles in small rodents. Science 179:35–41Google Scholar
  28. Larsson K, Forslund P (1991) Environmentally induced morphological variation in the barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis. J Evol Biol 4:619–636Google Scholar
  29. Larsson K, Forslund P (1992) Genetic and social inheritance of body and egg size in the Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis). Evolution 46:235–244Google Scholar
  30. Lessells CM (1986) Brood size in Canada geese: A manipulation experiment. J Anim Ecol 55:669–689Google Scholar
  31. Levin SA, Cohen D, Hastings A (1984) Dispersal strategies in a patchy environment. Theor Popul Biol 26:165–191Google Scholar
  32. Lieff BC (1973) The summer feeding ecology of Blue and Canada Geese at the McConnell River, N.W.T. Ph.D thesis, University of Western Ontario London, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  33. Morris DW (1982) Age-specific dispersal strategies in iteroparous species: who leaves when? Evol Theory 6:53–65Google Scholar
  34. Owen M, Black J (1989) Factors affecting the survival of barnacle geese on migration from the breeding grounds. J Anim Ecol 58:603–617Google Scholar
  35. Rice WR (1989) Analyzing tables of statistical tests. Evolution 43:223–225Google Scholar
  36. Rising JD, Somers KM (1989) The measurement of overall body size in birds. Auk 106:666–674Google Scholar
  37. SAS Institute (1989) SAS/STAT User's Guide, Version 6, Fourth Edition. SAS Institute, Cary, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  38. Sedinger JS, Raveling DG (1988) Foraging behavior of cackling Canada goose goslings: implications for the roles of food availability and processing rate. Oecologia 75:119–124Google Scholar
  39. Sedinger JS, Flint PL (1991) Growth rate is negatively correlated with hatch date in black brant. Ecology 72:496–502Google Scholar
  40. Sokal RR, Rohlf EJ (1981) Biometry. WH Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  41. Warner RR (1990) Resource assessment versus tradition in mating-site determination. Am Nat 135:205–217Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. G. Cooch
    • 1
  • R. L. Jefferies
    • 2
  • R. F. Rockwell
    • 3
  • F. Cooke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of OrnithologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations