Adult sex ratio variation of Svalbard reindeer in relation to animal density and climate.
This study will investigate to what degree variation in adult sex ratio of Svalbard reindeer Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus is affected by density-dependence and changes in vegetation and climate. For this, I will:
1) Analyze spatiotemporal variation in sex ratios based on long-term monitoring data including gradients in animal densities and environmental conditions.
2) Compare temporal trends in sex ratios in three semi-isolated areas that constitute a gradient in grazing history due to gradual expansion following re-introduction.
In addition, I will estimate and account for the uncertainties in sex ratios that are due to observer effects.
The results from the project will be published as a MSc thesis and subsequently as a paper in a peer-reviewed international journal.
The study closely cooperates with the NPI Svalbard Reindeer Monitoring Program (umbrella project; RIS 2372 and 2373) and is also part of the project “Predicting effects of climate change on Svalbard reindeer populations: a mechanistic approach” (NRC funded by NORKLIMA) at the Centre for Conservation Biology, NTNU (project leader is dr. Brage B. Hansen).