Calls

Synergistic effects of wolf activity and infrastructure development on reindeer space use

Published: 12 May 2020

In this thesis you'll gain experience in organizing reindeer movement data collected by GPS-collars, dealing with spatial environmental information, and performing statistical analysis combining movement and spatial data to evaluate effect of reindeer movement patterns when harassed by wolf.

Application deadline: 2020-08-31

In more pristine habitats, wild animals historically had to evolve and cope with variation in climate and weather conditions, predators, pathogens, and competitors. Predator activity is one of the main factors shaping herbivore behavior and population dynamics, even for species that have been domesticated or co-existed with human presence over a long time.

With the fast-pace infrastructure development in Northern Europe during the last decades, reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) have been facing growing challenges to deal with landscape and habitat changes. Many populations changed their behavior to avoid human infrastructure such as roads, hydropower dams, wind power turbines, and areas with high intensity of human use. However, it is poorly known how infrastructure-caused landscape changes are worsened or altered by the activity of predators.

In this 30-credit master project in biology we aim at understanding how wolf (Canis lupus) activity in combination with industrial development infrastructure (wind power) affect semi-domesticated reindeer space use and habitat selection in Sweden. In this thesis you'll gain experience in organizing reindeer movement data collected by GPS-collars, dealing with spatial environmental information, and performing statistical analysis combining movement and spatial data to evaluate effect of reindeer movement patterns when harassed by wolf. Experience with R and GIS software (QGIS, ArcGIS, GRASS GIS, PostGIS) and a strong will to improve in using these tools are desired. To apply, please include a copy of your CV and university transcripts, and information on your experience with GIS and R.

Facts:

The project is placed at Dept Animal Nutrition and Management, SLU Uppsala in collaboration with Dept of Ecology, Grimsö and Dept of Forest Resource Management, Umeå.