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Latitudinal-Related Variation in Wintering Population Trends of Greylag Geese (Anser Anser) along the Atlantic Flyway: A Response to Climate Change?

Author:
  • Cristina Ramo
  • Juan A Amat
  • Leif Nilsson
  • Vincent Schricke
  • Mariano Rodríguez-Alonso
  • Enrique Gómez-Crespo
  • Fernando Jubete
  • Juan G Navedo
  • José A Masero
  • Jesús Palacios
  • Mathieu Boos
  • Andy J Green
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Publication/Series: PLoS ONE
Volume: 10
Issue: 10
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Public Library of Science

Abstract english

The unusually high quality of census data for large waterbirds in Europe facilitates the study of how population change varies across a broad geographical range and relates to global change. The wintering population of the greylag goose Anser anser in the Atlantic flyway spanning between Sweden and Spain has increased from 120 000 to 610 000 individuals over the past three decades, and expanded its wintering range northwards. Although population sizes recorded in January have increased in all seven countries in the wintering range, we found a pronounced northwards latitudinal effect in which the rate of increase is higher at greater latitudes, causing a constant shift in the centre of gravity for the spatial distribution of wintering geese. Local winter temperatures have a strong influence on goose numbers but in a manner that is also dependent on latitude, with the partial effect of temperature (while controlling for the increasing population trend between years) being negative at the south end and positive at the north end of the flyway. Contrary to assumptions in the literature, the expansion of crops exploited by greylag geese has made little contribution to the increases in population size. Only in one case (expansion of winter cereals in Denmark) did we find evidence of an effect of changing land use. The expanding and shifting greylag population is likely to have increasing impacts on habitats in northern Europe during the course of this century.

Keywords

  • Evolutionary Biology

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 1932-6203
Leif Nilsson
E-mail: leif [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus

Biodiversity

+46 46 222 37 09

+46 70 525 57 09

E-C253

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden