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Oecologia

, Volume 173, Issue 1, pp 151–160 | Cite as

Temporal variation of juvenile survival in a long-lived species: the role of parasites and body condition

  • Guillaume Souchay
  • Gilles Gauthier
  • Roger Pradel
Population ecology - Original research

Abstract

Studies of population dynamics of long-lived species have generally focused on adult survival because population growth should be most sensitive to this parameter. However, actual variations in population size can often be driven by other demographic parameters, such as juvenile survival, when they show high temporal variability. We used capture–recapture data from a long-term study of a hunted, migratory species, the greater snow goose (Chen caerulescens atlantica), to assess temporal variability in first-year survival and the relative importance of natural and hunting mortality. We also conducted a parasite-removal experiment to determine the effect of internal parasites and body condition on temporal variation in juvenile survival. We found that juvenile survival showed a higher temporal variability than adult survival and that natural mortality was more important than hunting mortality, unlike in adults. Parasite removal increased first-year survival and reduced its annual variability in females only. Body condition at fledging was also positively correlated with first-year survival in treated females. With reduced parasite load, females, which are thought to invest more in their immune system than males according to Bateman’s principle, could probably reallocate more energy to growth than males, leading to a higher survival. Treated birds also had a higher survival than control ones during their second year, suggesting a developmental effect that manifested later in life. Our study shows that natural factors such as internal parasites may be a major source of variation in juvenile survival of a long-lived, migratory bird, which has implications for its population dynamics.

Keywords

Elasticity Mortality Cestodes Body mass Geese 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Arctic Goose Joint Venture (Canadian Wildlife Service), the Centre d’Étude Nordiques, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and by the International Research Group Dynamics of Biodiversity and Life-History traits. Logistic support in the Arctic was generously provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Project (Natural Resources Canada) and assistance in the field by Parks Canada and the Hunter and Trappers Association of Pond Inlet. Droncit, the anthelmintic drug, was provided by Bayer Canada. Finally, we are grateful to the numerous field assistants that helped with goose banding and especially Gérald Picard, to hunters who reported the banded birds that they shot and to Marie-Christine Cadieux for managing the database and for assistance in the field.

Supplementary material

442_2013_2613_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Souchay
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gilles Gauthier
    • 1
  • Roger Pradel
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de Biologie & Centre d’Études NordiquesUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR 5175Montpellier Cedex 05France

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