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Terrestrial arthropod abundance and phenology in the Canadian Arctic: modelling resource availability for Arctic-nesting insectivorous birds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2013

Elise Bolduc
Affiliation:
Département de biologie & Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada G5L 3A1
Nicolas Casajus
Affiliation:
Département de biologie & Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada G5L 3A1
Pierre Legagneux
Affiliation:
Département de biologie & Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada G5L 3A1
Laura McKinnon
Affiliation:
Département de biologie & Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada G5L 3A1
H. Grant Gilchrist
Affiliation:
National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Road), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada KJA OH3
Maria Leung
Affiliation:
Wild Tracks Ecological Consulting, 39 Harbottle Road, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada Y1A 5T2
R.I. Guy Morrison
Affiliation:
National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Road), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada KJA OH3
Don Reid
Affiliation:
Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, PO Box 31127, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada Y1A 5T2
Paul A. Smith
Affiliation:
Smith and Associates Ecological Research Ltd, 772 – 7th Conc. South, Pakenham, Ontario, Canada K0A 2X0
Christopher M. Buddle
Affiliation:
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University 21, 111 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada H9X 3V9
Joël Bêty
Affiliation:
Département de biologie & Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada G5L 3A1
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Arctic arthropods are essential prey for many vertebrates, including birds, but arthropod populations and phenology are susceptible to climate change. The objective of this research was to model the relationship between seasonal changes in arthropod abundance and weather variables using data from a collaborative pan-Canadian (Southampton, Herschel, Bylot, and Ellesmere Islands) study on terrestrial arthropods. Arthropods were captured with passive traps that provided a combined measure of abundance and activity (a proxy for arthropod availability to foraging birds). We found that 70% of the deviance in daily arthropod availability was explained by three temperature covariates: mean daily temperature, thaw degree-day, and thaw degree-day2. Models had an adjusted R2 of 0.29–0.95 with an average among sites and arthropod families of 0.67. This indicates a moderate to strong fit to the raw data. The models for arthropod families with synchronous emergence, such as Tipulidae (Diptera), had a better fit (average adjusted R2 of 0.80) than less synchronous taxa, such as Araneae (R2 = 0.60). Arthropod abundance was typically higher in wet than in mesic habitats. Our models will serve as tools for researchers who want to correlate insectivorous bird breeding data to arthropod availability in the Canadian Arctic.

Résumé

Dans la toundra arctique, les arthropodes constituent des proies essentielles pour de nombreux vertébrés dont les oiseaux. Cependant, les populations d'arthropodes et leur phénologie sont susceptibles de subir des modifications face aux changements climatiques. Notre étude utilise des données sur les arthropodes terrestres provenant d'une initiative pancanadienne (Îles Southampton, Herschel, Bylot et Ellesmere), afin de modéliser la relation entre les changements saisonniers d'abondance d'arthropodes et les variables environnementales. Des pièges fournissant une mesure combinée de l'abondance et de l'activité des arthropodes ont été utilisés afin d'obtenir un indice de la disponibilité des arthropodes pour les oiseaux. Dans nos modèles, trois covariables liées à la température (température, degrés-jours et degrés-jours2) expliquent 70% de la déviance. Selon les sites et les familles d'arthropodes modélisés, les R2 ajustés des modèles ont variés de 0.29–0.95 (moyenne de 0.67). Les modèles pour les familles d'arthropodes ayant une émergence synchronisée, comme les Tipulidae (Diptera), avaient de meilleurs R2 ajustés (0.80 en moyenne) comparativement aux groupes dont la disponibilité est plus répartie dans le temps, comme les araignées (0.60). L'abondance d'arthropodes était généralement plus grande dans les milieux humides que dans les milieux plus secs. Nos modèles pourront servir d'outil aux chercheurs qui désireraient corréler leurs données sur la reproduction des insectivores avec des données sur la disponibilité d'arthropodes dans l'Arctique Canadien.

Type
Behaviour & Ecology
Copyright
Copyright © Entomological Society of Canada 2013

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Terrestrial arthropod abundance and phenology in the Canadian Arctic: modelling resource availability for Arctic-nesting insectivorous birds
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