Influence of body mass and environmental conditions on winter mortality risk of a northern ungulate: Evidence for a late-winter survival bottleneck
July 31, 2021
Identifying limiting factors for animals with seasonally dynamic life histories sometimes requires understanding intra-annual periods of resource scarcity (e.g., Ashmole, 1963). For ungulates living in northern environments, winter is generally a period of negative energy budget when forage provides some energetic intake but most individuals rely heavily on fat stores accumulated during the previous summer and fall to survive until spring green-up (hereafter the nutritional integration model; Mautz, 1978; Parker, Barboza, & Gillingham, 2009). Following this model, an annual survival bottleneck around the time of snowmelt could occur if the intensity and duration of winter are sufficient to exceed the energetic reserves of a substantial portion of the population (Parker et al., 2009).
Author(s): Todd M. Kautz, Jerrold L. Belant, Dean E. Beyer Jr., Bronson K. Strickland, Jared F. Duquette