ECOTHERMIC RESPONSES OF MOOSE (ALCES ALCES) TO THERMOREGULATORY STRESS ON MAINLAND NOVA SCOTIA

Hugh G Broders, Andrea B Coombs, Jessica R McCarron

Abstract


The size of the mainland Nova Scotia moose (Alces alces) population has declined precipitously over the last several decades and their current distribution is discontinuous. In recognition of the state of its moose population, Nova Scotia declared moose as ‘endangered’ under Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act in 2003. A variety of factors have been attributed to the decline, and the goal of this project was to determine whether thermoregulatory stress may be impacting the viability of the moose population. Location and temperature information were collected from GPS-collared moose to test predictions related to whether moose behaviour changes in response to high temperatures. Overall, our results suggest that moose exhibit behaviours (i.e., ectothermy) that are consistent with thermoregulatory stress, but the actual impacts of this, if any, on population productivity requires further study. The greatest response occurred in the summer during both day and night, when moose moved to areas of lower ambient temperature. Further, overall movements were significantly reduced during periods of high temperatures.

Keywords


Alces alces; ectothermy; endangered; moose; Nova Scotia; temperature

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