Évaluation du potentiel de compétition entre le caribou migrateur et le bœuf musqué au Nunavik

Authors: Brodeur, Alexis
Advisor: Côté, Steeve D.; Taillon, Joëlle
Abstract: In northern Quebec and Labrador, the Rivière-George and Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herds have been declining since the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. In particular, marked decline of the Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herd coinciding with the demographic growth of muskoxen, an introduced species in northern Quebec, has led local Inuit communities to question the potential for interspecific competition. In response to these concerns we used three methods to evaluate the potential for interspecific competition at different scales: (1) we quantified spatial overlap, (2) we compared both species habitat selection patterns in their overlapping range and (3) we evaluated diet overlap. We used telemetric data and collected fecal samples of both species for DNA barcoding analysis. At the annual scale, spatial overlap was low and limited in time, mostly in spring on the coast of Hudson Bay and in summer on the coast of Ungava Bay. Within their overlapping range, migratory caribou and muskoxen had mostly different habitat selection patterns, particularly in regard to habitat types and proximity to the coast. At a finer spatial scale, this led to low probability of co-occurrence across both coastal areas. Our dietary analysis of fecal samples suggested that both species had a similar diet based on the frequency of the most detected plant families (Ericaceae, Salicaceae et Betulaceae) in summer and winter. Combined, our results suggest that the potential for competition between migratory caribou and muskoxen is low in our study area. However, several factors such as the possible expansion of the muskoxen range and interactions with predators, in the context of climate change, could potentially influence the interactions between these two ungulate species
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 7 June 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/69307
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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