Spatial variation in Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) populations around the Hall Basin
Swedish Polar Research Secretariat2017 (English)In: Polar Biology, ISSN 0722-4060, E-ISSN 1432-2056, 1-6 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Arctic environments have relatively simple ecosystems. Yet, we still lack knowledge of the spatio-temporal dynamics of many Arctic organisms and how they are affected by local and regional processes. The Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) is a large lagomorph endemic to high Arctic environments in Canada and Greenland. Current knowledge about this herbivore is scarce and the temporal and spatial dynamics of their populations are poorly understood. Here, we present observations on Arctic hares in two sites on north Greenland (Hall and Washington lands) and one adjacent site on Ellesmere Island (Judge Daly Promontory). We recorded a large range of group sizes from 1 to 135 individuals, as well as a substantial variation in hare densities among the three sites (Hall land: 0 animals/100 km2, Washington land 14.5–186.7 animals/100 km2, Judge Daly Promontory 0.18–2.95 animals/100 km2). However, pellet counts suggested that both Hall land and Judge Daly Promontory hosted larger populations at other times. We suggest that our results could have been caused by three spatially differentiated populations with asynchronous population fluctuations. With food limitation being a likely driver behind the observed variation, we argue that food limitation likely interacts with predation and competition in shaping the spatial dynamics of Arctic hares in this region.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. 1-6 p.
Research subject SWEDARCTIC 2015, Petermann 2015; SWEDARCTIC 2015, Arctic islands
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-3530DOI: 10.1007/s00300-017-2116-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-3530DiVA: diva2:1087379
FunderSwedish Polar Research Secretariat