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Variations in nutritional content of grasslands and population dynamics of Alpine ibex: a spatio-temporal approach using remotely-sensed imagery.

Population dynamic of alpine large herbivores is strictly related to seasonality, since plant availability is mainly limited to a short summer season: as a consequence, life history strategies of these species have been selected to fit the best environmental conditions in their most sensitive phases (e.g. kid birth). In the case of the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) females give birth in early summer when grasslands are greening-up: in this way, they can benefit of the entire growing season during lactation and kids can gain enough mass in order to survive to their first winter. Global warming and consequent shifting of plant phenology is thus expected to alter this equilibrium, especially in species with a low genetic variability as Alpine ibex is.
The goal of this work is to analyse the changes in grassland seasonal patterns in the last decades and between different morphological conditions in Gran Paradiso National Park. In particular, we are investigating if the strong decrease of ibex populations during the last 20 years is linked to alterations in seasonal trend of grassland nutritional content. We will use remotely sensed imagery since there are no other way to obtain data of the quality of grass in the past.
The first step is to test the suitability of remote sensing as estimators of the nutritional content of grasslands by collecting field samples and linking their nutritional properties with values of remotely sensed indexes. Afterwards, images will be analysed to model phenological variations over environmental covariates. Finally, these models will be applied to population dynamics of alpine herbivores. This work started in 2012: for now, field data collection have been carried out (May-September 2012).




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Dimensione 12.49 MB
Downloads 1124
Lingua English
Licenza Creative Commons
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Sito Web
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Creato 2013-12-27 19:44:57
Creato da luigi.ranghetti
Modificato il 2013-12-27 19:58:56
Modificato da luigi.ranghetti

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