ArcticNet - ArcticNet Research

Phase 4 (2015-2018)

Population Dynamics and Predator-Prey Relationships in Migratory Caribou of the Québec-Labrador Peninsula in the Context of Climate and Anthropogenic Changes

Project Leader(s)

Côté, Steeve

Several populations of caribou and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are threatened across their circumpolar range and most of them are in decline. In Canada, migratory caribou are a fundamental element of the ecology, economy and culture of a vast territory stretching from Newfoundland to Yukon. Despite substantial research efforts, the factors explaining variations in population numbers of migratory caribou are, however, not fully understood. This multidisciplinary research program (Caribou Ungava) seeks to better understand the ecology and conservation of migratory caribou in Québec-Labrador. The project examines how climate change, habitat modifications, industrial development, sport and subsistence hunting interact with changes in predation levels, population phases of caribou demography and environmental variability to affect the abundance and distribution of two herds of migratory caribou. The approach combines the monitoring of radio-collared caribou and their predators, isotopic and nutritional analyses as well as statistical and modelling techniques. Results will be essential to ensure a sustainable harvest of caribou, both by subsistence and sport hunters, and help mitigate the impacts of planned industrial development of northern environments on caribou. Contributes to IRIS: 4