The role of dispersal in population dynamics of breeding Ross's geese
Drake, Kiel L.
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Spatial variation in density of organisms can lead to challenges in estimation of population size. Associated vital rates responsible for this variation also may vary geographically and in response to local ecological conditions, with the result that subunits of a metapopulation may have different trajectories. Both temporal and spatial variation in population size occurs not only as a result of additions through birth and deletions through death, but also from gains and losses arising from immigration and emigration, respectively. Although virtually all organisms have evolved mechanisms for dispersal, the role of movement in population dynamics has received far less attention than have contributions from recruitment and losses to mortality. I used mark-recapture techniques to make inferences about the role of movement in local population dynamics of Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii) colonies by estimating rates of movement between breeding subpopulations in the Queen Maud Gulf metapopulation. I also assessed decision-based philopatry (i.e., the role of previous nesting outcome; sensu Hoover 2003) and a potential cost of reproduction to female geese through experimental manipulation of nesting success. Previous nest fate influenced intra-colony dispersal as failed nesters moved further between consecutive nest sites, but inter-colony movement was not affected by previous nest fate. Regardless of previous nest fate, Ross’s Geese did not exhibit philopatry to nest sites, or to breeding territories, suggesting that philopatry occurs at a larger spatial scale. Breeding success accounted for a detectable, but only small amount of variation (
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorAlisauskas, Ray T.
Copyright DateApril 2006
cost of breeding