New publication: Consequences of barriers and changing seasonality on population dynamics and harvest of migratory ungulates

By Bram Van Moorter, Steinar Engen, John M. Fryxell, Manuela Panzacchi, Erlend B. Nilsen and Atle Mysterud in Theoretical Ecology. Open Access.


Many animal populations providing ecosystem services, including harvest, live in seasonal environments and migrate between seasonally distinct ranges. Unfortunately, two major sources of human-induced global change threaten these populations: climate change and anthropogenic barriers. Anthropogenic infrastructure developments present a global threat to animal migrations through increased migration mortality or behavioral avoidance. Climate change alters the seasonal and spatial dynamics of resources and therefore the effects of migration on population performance. We formulated a population model with ideal-free migration to investigate changes in population size and harvest yield due to barriers and seasonal dynamics. The model predicted an increasing proportion of migrants when the difference between areas in seasonality or carrying capacity increased. Both migration cost and behavioral avoidance of barriers substantially reduced population size and harvest yields. Not surprisingly, the negative effects of barriers were largest when the population benefited most from migration. Despite the overall decline in harvest yield from a migratory population due to barriers, barriers could result in locally increased yield from the resident population following reduced competition from migrants. Our approach and results enhance the understanding of how global warming and infrastructure development worldwide may change population dynamics and harvest offtake affecting livelihoods and rural economies.

Theor Ecol 13, 595–605 (2020)
First published 25 July 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s12080-020-00471-w
Publication webpage.

Bram Van Moorter, Steinar Engen, John M. Fryxell, Manuela Panzacchi, Erlend B. Nilsen, and Atle Mysterud1

1 Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. See the publication webpage for full author information.

Tags: Theoretical Ecology;
Published Jan. 14, 2021 9:47 PM - Last modified Mar. 5, 2021 9:27 AM