Advertisement

Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 953–967 | Cite as

Impacts of climate-driven habitat change on the peak calving date of the Bathurst caribou in Arctic Canada

  • Wenjun Chen
  • Jan Z. Adamczewski
  • Lori White
  • Bruno Croft
  • Anne Gunn
  • Adeline Football
  • Sylvain G. Leblanc
  • Donald E. Russell
  • Boyan Tracz
Original paper

Abstract

Since mid-1980’s, the population of the Bathurst barren ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Canada’s Arctic has declined by 93%. In order to develop and implement an effective recovery plan, it is important to know how various factors have cumulatively impacted the population decline. To contribute to the knowledge, we investigated the following two questions: how have changes in climate-induced habitat conditions impacted the peak calving date of the Bathurst caribou, and what was the implication of the impact on the population? Our results indicate that the peak calving date was impacted by changes in habitat conditions (e.g., the start date of vegetation growing season SOS) in a complex manner. Large inter-annual variations in SOS on the calving ground and summer range of the Bathurst herd were observed during 1985 and 2012, with the largest difference being 29 days. A 1-day delay of SOS in year i − 1 on the calving ground (SOScg(i − 1)) from its normal date could result in a 0.5-day delay in the peak calving date in year i, likely caused by the delay in the conception date in the previous fall. However, advances in SOScg(i − 1) did not alter the peak calving date in year i. Furthermore, a 1-day delay (or advance) in the current year’s SOS on the summer range (SOSsr(i)) might cause a 0.23-day delay (or advance) in the peak calving date in the current year, likely through changing the caribou’s gestation duration. Together SOScg(i − 1) and SOSsr(i) explained 69.1% of the variation in the peak calving date of the Bathurst caribou herd during 1985–2012, indicating the cumulative impacts on the peak calving date by the changing habitat conditions over a period of 2 years and thus the validation of the cumulative habitat impact hypothesis. Finally, our results also show that a 1-day delay in the peak calving date corresponded approximately 2–3% reduction in the birth rate of the Bathurst caribou, and thus might have been partially responsible for the population decline.

Keywords

Bathurst caribou Vegetation Phenology Calving date Remote sensing 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Roy Judas and Brain Kodzin (Wekweeti), and Claire Elliott and Elyn Humphreys (Carleton University) participated in the community-based vegetation monitoring in 2013 and 2014. Bonnie Fournier and Adrian D’Hont from Environment and Natural Resources of GNWT provided the collared cow GPS data and range map. Rasim Latifovic, Fuqun Zhou, Richard Fernandes, and Ian Olthof of CCRS provided the 10-day AVHRR composites, snow cover, and land cover data. The guidance, suggestions, and technical assistance from Government of NWT, Tlicho Government, Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board, and CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network (CARMA) are much appreciated. We are grateful for the comments made by anonymous reviewers, which have significantly strengthened the manuscript.

Funding

The study is funded by the NWT Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (CIMP) of the Government of Northwest Territories and the Remote Sensing Science Program of Natural Resources Canada.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

References

  1. Adams LG, Dale BW (1998) Timing and synchrony of parturition in Alaskan caribou. J Mammal 79:287–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barboza PS, Parker KL, Hume ID (2009) Integrative wildlife nutrition. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergerud AT, Luttich SN, Camps L (2008) The return of Caribou to Ungava. McGill-Queen’s University Press, MontrealGoogle Scholar
  4. Cameron RD, Ver Hoef JM (1994) Predicting parturition rate of caribou from autumn body-mass. J Wildl Manage 58:674–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cameron RD, Smith WT, Fancy SG, Gerhart KL, White RG (1993) Calving success of female caribou in relation to body weight. Can J Zool 71:480–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chan-McLeod ACA, White RG, Holleman DF (1994) Effects of protein and energy intake, body condition, and season on nutrient partitioning and milk production in caribou and reindeer. Can J Zool 72:938–947CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen W, Li J, Zhang Y, Zhou F, Koehler K, Leblanc S, Fraser R, Olthof I, Zhang YS, Wang J (2009) Relating biomass and leaf area index to non-destructive measurements for monitoring changes in arctic vegetation. Arctic 62:281–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen Z, Chen W, Leblanc SG, Henry G (2010) Digital photograph analysis for measuring percent plant cover in the Arctic. Arctic 63:315–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen W, Russell DE, Gunn A, Croft B, Chen WR, Fernandes R, Zhao H, Li J, Zhang Y, Koehler K, Olthof I, Fraser RH, Leblanc SG, Henry GR, White RG, Finstad GL (2013a) Monitoring habitat condition changes during winter and pre-calving migration for Bathurst Caribou in northern Canada. Biodiversity 14:36–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen W, Zorn P, Chen Z, Latifovic R, Zhang Y, Li J, Quirouette J, Olthof I, Fraser R, Mclennan D, Poitevin J, Stewart HM, Sharma R (2013b) Propagation of errors associated with scaling foliage biomass from field measurements to remote sensing data over Canada’s northern national park. Remote Sens Environ 130:205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen W, Foy N, Olthof I, Latifovic R, Zhang Y, Li J, Fraser R, Chen Z, McLennan D, Poitevin J, Zorn P, Quirouette J, Stewart HM (2013c) Evaluating and reducing errors in seasonal profiles of AVHRR vegetation indices over a Canadian northern national park using cloudiness index. Int J Remote Sens 34:4320–4343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen W, White L, Adamczewski JZ, Croft B, Garner K, Pellissey JS, Clark K, Olthof I, Latifovic R, Finstad GL (2014a) Assessing the impacts of summer range on Bathurst caribou’s productivity and abundance since 1985. Nat Resour 5:130–145Google Scholar
  13. Chen W, Foy N, Olthof I, Zhang Y, Fraser R, Latifovic R, Poitevin J, Zorn P, McLennan D (2014b) A biophysically-based and objective satellite seasonality observation method for applications over the Arctic. Int J Remote Sens 35:6742–6763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DeMars CA, Auger-Méthé M, Schlägel UE, Boutin S (2013) Inferring parturition and neonate survival from movement patterns of female ungulates: a case study using woodland caribou. Ecol Evol 3(12):4149–4160CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Eloranta E, Nieminen M (1986) Calving of the experimental reindeer herd in Kaamanen during 1970–85 6:115–121Google Scholar
  16. Espmark Y (1980) Effects of maternal pre-partum undernutrition on early mother-calf relationships in reindeer. In: Reimers E, Gaare E, Skjenneberg S (eds) Proceedings of the second international reindeer/caribou symposium. Røros, Norway, pp 485–496Google Scholar
  17. Fernandes R, Leblanc S (2005) Parametric (modified least squares) and non-parametric (Theil-Sen) linear regressions for predicting biophysical parameters in the presence of measurement errors. Remote Sens Environ 95:303–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerhart KL, Russell DE, Van DeWetering D, White RG, Cameron RD (1997) Pregnancy of adult caribou (Rangifer tarandus): evidence for lactational infertility. J Zool 242:17–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Griffith B, Douglas DC, Walsh NE, Young DD, McCabe TR, Russell DE, White RG, Cameron RD, Whitten KR (2002) The Porcupine caribou herd. In: Douglas DC, Reynolds PE, Rhode EB (ed) Arctic Refuge coastal plain terrestrial wildlife research summaries, USGS Biological Science Report 2002-000, pp 8–37Google Scholar
  20. Gunn A, D’Hont A, Williams J, Boulanger J (2013) Satellite collaring in the Bathurst Herd of Barren-ground Caribou 1996–2005. Environment and Natural Resources Manuscript Report No. 225, YellowknifeGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson CJ, Boyce MS, Case RL, Cluff HD, Gau RJ, Gunn A, Mulders R (2005) Cumulative effects of human developments on Arctic wildlife. Wildl Monogr 160:1–36Google Scholar
  22. Kattsov VM, Källén E (2005) Future climate change: modeling and scenarios for the Arctic. In: Symon C et al (eds) Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment (ACIA). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 100–150Google Scholar
  23. Kelleyhouse RA (2001) Calving ground habitat selection: Teshekpuk Lake and western Arctic caribou herds. MS theses, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, p 124Google Scholar
  24. Khlopenkov K, Trishchenko A (2006) SPARC: new cloud, clear-snow/ice and cloud shadow detection scheme for historical AVHHR 1-km observations over Canada. J Atmos Ocean Tech 24:322–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Klein DR (1970) Tundra ranges north of the Boreal forest. J Range Manage 23:8–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Klein DR (1989) Subsistence hunting. In: Hudson RJ, Drew KR, Baskin LM (eds) Wildlife production systems: economic utilisation of wild ungulates. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 96–111Google Scholar
  27. Klein D, Baskin LM, Bogoslovskaya LS, Danell K, Gunn A, Irons DB, Kofinas GP, Kovacs KM et al (2005) Management and conservation of wildlife in a changing Arctic. In: Symon C, Arris L, Heal B (eds) Arctic climate impact assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 597–648Google Scholar
  28. Kumpula T, Forbes B, Stammler F (2006) Combining data from satellite images and reindeer herders in Arctic petroleum development: the case of Yamal, West Siberia. Nordia Geograph Pub 35:17–30Google Scholar
  29. Latifovic R, Cihlar J, Chen J (2003) Comparison of BRDF models for the normalization of satellite optical data to a standard sun-target-sensor geometry. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 41:889–1898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Latifovic R, Trishchenfo AP, Chen J, Park WB, Kholpenkov KV, Fernandes R, Pouliot D, Ungureanu C, Luo Y, Wang S, Davidson A, Cihlar J (2005) Generating historical AVHRR 1 km baseline satellite data records over Canada suitable for climate change studies. Can J Remote Sens 31:324–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Latifovic R, Pouliot D, Dillabough C (2012) Identification and correction of systematic error in NOAA AVHRR long-term satellite data record. Remote Sens Environ 127:84–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lutsel K’e Dené First Nation (2005) Ni hat’ni—watching the land: results of 2003–2005 monitoring activities in the traditional territory of the Åutsÿl K’e Denesôåine. Report to the West Kitikmeot Slave Study Society, YellowknifeGoogle Scholar
  33. Messier F (1995) Trophic interactions in two northern wolf-ungulate systems. Wildl Res 22:131–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitchell TD, Jones PD (2005) An improved method of constructing a database of monthly climate observations and associated high-resolution grids. Int J Clim 25:693–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nellemann C, Vistnes I, Jordhoy P, Strand O (2001) Winter distribution of wild reindeer in relation to power lines, roads and resorts. Biol Conserv 101:351–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nishi J, Croft B, Williams J, Boulanger J, and Johnson D (2007) An estimate of breeding females in the Bathurst caribou herd of barren ground caribou, June 2006. File report no. 137, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Northwest TerritoriesGoogle Scholar
  37. Olthof I, Fraser RH (2007) Mapping northern land cover fractions using Landsat ETM+. Remote Sens Environ 107:496–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pedhazur E (1997) Multiple regression in behavioral research: explanation and prediction, 3rd edn. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  39. Post E, Forchhammer MC (2008) Climate change reduces reproductive success of an Arctic herbivore through trophic mismatch. Phil Trans R Soc B 363:2369–2375CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Post E, Bøving PS, Pedersen C, MacArthur MA (2003) Synchrony between caribou calving and plant phenology in depredated and non-depredated populations. Can J Zool 81:1709–1714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reimers E (1983) Reproduction in wild reindeer in Norway. Can J Zool 61:211–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Richter-Menge J, Overland J, Proshutinsky A, Romanovsky V, Bengtsson L, Brigham L, Dyurgerov M, Gascard JC, Gerland S, Graversen R, Haas C, Karcher M, Kuhry P, Maslanik J, Melling H, Maslowski W, Morison J, Perovich D, Przybylak R, Rachold V, Rigor I, Shiklomanov A, Stroeve J, Walker D, Walsh J (2006) State of the Arctic. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration OAR Special Report, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  43. Rönnegård L, Forslund P, Danell Ö (2002) Lifetime patterns in adult female mass, reproduction and offspring mass in semidomestic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus). Can J Zool 80:2047–2055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rowell JE, Shipka MP (2009) Variation in gestation length among captive reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus). Theriogenology 72:190–197CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Severud WJ, Delgiudice GD, Obermoller TR, Enright TA, Wright RG, Forester JD (2015) Using GPS collars to determine parturition and cause-specific mortality of moose calves. Wildl Soc Bull 39(3):616–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sharma S, Couturier S, Côté SD (2009) Impacts of climate change on the seasonal distribution of migratory caribou. Glob Change Biol 15:2549–2562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Skogland T (1983) The effects of density dependent resource limitation on size of wild reindeer. Oecologia 60:156–168CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Skogland T (1989) Comparative social organization of wild reindeer in relation to food, mates and predator avoidance. Paul Parey, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  49. Skogland T (1990) Density dependence in a fluctuating wild reindeer herd; maternal vs. offspring effects. Oecologia 84:442–450CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sutherland M, Gunn A (1996) Bathurst calving ground surveys, 1965–1996. Northwest Territories Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development File Report No. 118, YellowknifeGoogle Scholar
  51. Taillon J, Barboza P, Côté SD (2013) Nitrogen allocation to offspring and milk production in a capital breeder. Ecology 94:1815–1827CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Vors LS, Boyce MS (2009) Global declines of caribou and reindeer. Glob Change Biol 15:2626–2633.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01974.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhao H, Fernandes R (2009) Daily snow cover estimation from advanced very high resolution radiometer polar pathfinder data over Northern Hemisphere land surfaces during 1982–2004. J Geophys Res 114:D05113.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2008JD011272 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenjun Chen
    • 1
  • Jan Z. Adamczewski
    • 2
  • Lori White
    • 1
    • 7
  • Bruno Croft
    • 2
  • Anne Gunn
    • 3
  • Adeline Football
    • 4
  • Sylvain G. Leblanc
    • 1
  • Donald E. Russell
    • 5
  • Boyan Tracz
    • 6
  1. 1.Canada Centre for Remote SensingNatural Resources CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Environment and Natural ResourcesGovernment of the Northwest TerritoriesYellowknifeCanada
  3. 3.Salt Spring IslandCanada
  4. 4.Tlicho GovernmentWekweetiCanada
  5. 5.Yukon CollegeWhitehorseCanada
  6. 6.Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources BoardYellowknifeCanada
  7. 7.National Wildlife Research CentreEnvironment CanadaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations