Circumpolar status of Arctic ptarmigan: Population dynamics and trends

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  • Eva Fuglei, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • ,
  • John-André Henden, University in Tromsø, Norway
  • Chris T. Callahan, Newfoundland and Labrador Government, Canada
  • Olivier Gilg, Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Arctique, CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
  • Jannik Hansen
  • Rolf A. Ims, University of Tromsø, Norway
  • Arkady P. Isaev, Russian Acad Sci, Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Biological Problems of Cryolithozone, Inst Biol Problems Cryolitozone, Siberian Branch, Russian Federation
  • Johannes Lang, Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Germany
  • Carol L. McIntyre, Denali National Park and Preserve, US National Park Service, Alaska, USA., United States
  • Richard A. Merizon, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, United States
  • Oleg Y. Mineev, Institute of Biology of Komi Scientific Centre of Ural Division of Russian Academy of Science, Laboratory of Vertebrate Ecology, Russian Federation
  • Dave Mossop, Yukon Research Center of Yukon College, Whitehorse, Canada, Canada
  • Ólafur K. Nielsen, Icelandic Institute for Natural History, Iceland
  • Erlend B. Nielsen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway
  • Åshild Ønvik Pedersen, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
  • Niels Martin Schmidt
  • Benôit Sittler, Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, University of Freiburg, Germany, France
  • Maria Hørnell Willebrand, Faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology at the Inland Norway University of Applied Science, Postboks 400, 2418 Elverum, Norway, Sweden
  • Kathy Martin, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada., Environment and Climate Change Canada, Vancouver, Canada., Canada
Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and willow
ptarmigan (L. lagopus) are Arctic birds with a circumpolar
distribution but there is limited knowledge about their
status and trends across their circumpolar distribution.
Here, we compiled information from 90 ptarmigan study
sites from 7 Arctic countries, where almost half of the sites
are still monitored. Rock ptarmigan showed an overall
negative trend on Iceland and Greenland, while Svalbard
and Newfoundland had positive trends, and no significant
trends in Alaska. For willow ptarmigan, there was a
negative trend in mid-Sweden and eastern Russia, while
northern Fennoscandia, North America and Newfoundland
had no significant trends. Both species displayed some
periods with population cycles (short 3–6 years and long
9–12 years), but cyclicity changed through time for both
species. We propose that simple, cost-efficient systematic
surveys that capture the main feature of ptarmigan
population dynamics can form the basis for citizen
science efforts in order to fill knowledge gaps for the
many regions that lack systematic ptarmigan monitoring
programs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmbio
ISSN0044-7447
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

    Research areas

  • ptarmigan, Lagopus, circumpolar, Arctic, Population dynamics, Greenland, Birds, Climate change, Population cycles, Ecosystems, Lagopus spp, Transient dynamics

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