Argos DCS System Use Agreement of the Month
– August 2016
U.S. Geological Survey – Alaska Science Center
Caribou and Climate in Northern Alaska
Climate change is affecting caribou populations by altering the quality of growing season habitats in the Arctic. Current declines of caribou on the North Slope are amplifying concerns of climate-mediated effects on habitat quality, yet, the direction and magnitude of realized effects for this species are uncertain. The ability of caribou populations to remain abundant in the Arctic will depend, in part, on the resilience of individuals to survive and reproduce despite environmental changes.
The USGS and Alaska Department of Fish and Game are collaborating on studies to assess resource selection and space use of adult female caribou from the Central Arctic Herd relative to weather variables and the phenology of forage quality and abundance throughout the summer growing season. With data from a sample of 30 adult females fitted with ARGOS/GPS collars, we will ultimately estimate the capacity of free-ranging caribou to cope with the projected effects of climatic shifts over the next several decades on their summer habitats.
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