Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Niels Martin Schmidt

Muskox status, recent variation, and uncertain future

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Christine Cuyler, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
  • ,
  • Janice Rowell, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • ,
  • Jan Adamczewski, Government of the Northwest Territories
  • ,
  • Morgan Anderson, Ministry of Forests and Range
  • ,
  • John Blake, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • ,
  • Tord Bretten, Norwegian Environment Agency
  • ,
  • Vincent Brodeur, Ministry of Forests and Range
  • ,
  • Mitch Campbell, Government of Nunavut
  • ,
  • Sylvia L. Checkley, University of Calgary
  • ,
  • H. Dean Cluff, Government of the Northwest Territories
  • ,
  • Steeve D. Côté, Universite Laval
  • ,
  • Tracy Davison, Govt Nunavut, Dept Environm, Wildlife Management Div
  • ,
  • Mathieu Dumond, Umingmak Productions Inc.
  • ,
  • Barrie Ford, Makivik Corporation
  • ,
  • Alexander Gruzdev, Wrangel Island State Reserve
  • ,
  • Anne Gunn
  • ,
  • Patrick Jones, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • ,
  • Susan Kutz, University of Calgary
  • ,
  • Lisa Marie Leclerc, Government of Nunavut
  • ,
  • Conor Mallory, Government of Nunavut
  • ,
  • Fabien Mavrot, University of Calgary
  • ,
  • Jesper Bruun Mosbacher, University of Calgary
  • ,
  • Innokentiy Mikhailovich Okhlopkov, RAS - Siberian Branch
  • ,
  • Patricia Reynolds
  • ,
  • Niels Martin Schmidt
  • Taras Sipko, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Mike Suitor, Inuvialuit and Migratory Caribou
  • ,
  • Matilde Tomaselli, Polar Knowledge Canada
  • ,
  • Bjørnar Ytrehus, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) are an integral component of Arctic biodiversity. Given low genetic diversity, their ability to respond to future and rapid Arctic change is unknown, although paleontological history demonstrates adaptability within limits. We discuss status and limitations of current monitoring, and summarize circumpolar status and recent variations, delineating all 55 endemic or translocated populations. Acknowledging uncertainties, global abundance is ca 170 000 muskoxen. Not all populations are thriving. Six populations are in decline, and as recently as the turn of the century, one of these was the largest population in the world, equaling ca 41% of today’s total abundance. Climate, diseases, and anthropogenic changes are likely the principal drivers of muskox population change and result in multiple stressors that vary temporally and spatially. Impacts to muskoxen are precipitated by habitat loss/degradation, altered vegetation and species associations, pollution, and harvest. Which elements are relevant for a specific population will vary, as will their cumulative interactions. Our summaries highlight the importance of harmonizing existing data, intensifying long-term monitoring efforts including demographics and health assessments, standardizing and implementing monitoring protocols, and increasing stakeholder engagement/contributions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAMBIO
Volume49
Pages (from-to)805-819
Number of pages15
ISSN0044-7447
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Abundance, Circumpolar, Drivers, Ovibos, Population status, Trends

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 181955081