Changing motivations during migration: Linking movement speed to reproductive status in a migratory large mammal

  • Singh N
  • Ericsson G
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A challenge in animal ecology is to link animal movement to demography. In general, reproducing and non-reproducing animals may show different movement patterns. Dramatic changes in reproductive status, such as the loss of an offspring during the course of migration, might also affect movement. Studies linking movement speed to reproductive status require individual monitoring of life-history events and hence are rare. Here, we link movement data from 98 GPS-collared female moose (Alces alces) to field observations of reproductive status and calf survival. We show that reproductive females move more quickly during migration than non-reproductive females. Further, the loss of a calf over the course of migration triggered a decrease in speed of the female. This is in contrast to what might be expected for females no longer constrained by an accompanying offspring. The observed patterns demonstrate that females of different reproductive status may have distinct movement patterns, and that the underlying motivation to move may be altered by a change in reproductive status during migration.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Migration
  • Moose
  • Movement ecology
  • Reproductive cost
  • Reproductive status
  • Velocity

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  • Navinder J. Singh

  • Göran Ericsson

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