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Synchrony in Svalbard reindeer population dynamics

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We examined potential synchrony in the growth rates of three Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) populations and tested whether this pattern may result from correlated environmental variation. Two neighbouring populations had synchronized dynamics during the study period, while a more distant population showed different temporal variation. Climatic forcing (the Moran effect) was a likely synchronizing mechanism in combination with contrasting density-dependence patterns between the synchronous and asynchronous populations. Local climate was a more important synchronizing agent than a regional climate index (the Arctic Oscillation). Nevertheless, our results also suggest that variation in climate at a large scale may be important. Based on indirect measurements of dispersal/migration, our findings indicate that this factor does not play a key role in the spatial synchrony of Svalbard reindeer population dynamics.

Nous avons examiné la synchronie potentielle du taux de croissance de la population de rennes de Svalbard (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) et vérifié si le pattern peut résulter de variations des facteurs environnementaux associés. Nous avons constaté pendant notre étude que deux populations voisines avaient des dynamiques synchronisées, mais une autre, plus éloignée, subissait une variation temporelle différente. Le forçage climatique (i.e., l'effet Moran) est probablement un mécanisme de synchronisation agissant en conjonction avec les patterns dépendant de la densité différents entre les populations synchrones et asynchrones. Le climat local a un effet synchronisateur plus important que l'indice climatique régional (oscillation arctique). Néanmoins, nos résultats semblent indiquer que les variations climatiques sur une grande échelle ont aussi leur importance. D'après des mesures indirectes de la dispersion/migration, nos résultats indiquent que ce facteur ne joue pas un rôle de premier plan dans l'établissement de la synchronie spatiale de la dynamique des populations chez les rennes de Svalbard.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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