From the Rocky Mountains to the Alps, the question of whether a deer population migrates can be answered by how springtime comes to the landscapes the deer occupy.
That’s the key finding of a first-of-its-kind study produced by a cross-continental team of researchers working with lead author Ellen Aikens, a recent doctoral graduate of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming, who is originally from Kintnersville, Pa. The paper was published Monday in Current Biology, a leading journal in the field.
The researchers found that the dynamics of springtime plant growth, specifically whether green-up progresses like a wave or not, explain where migration occurs in many ecosystems. A slow and long spring green-up correlates to a resident strategy. MORE
Header image: European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) were one of the species included in the global study led by University of Wyoming researchers on deer and elk behaviour as it relates to plant growth patterns. Credit: Bruno Lourtet of CEFS, University of Toulouse.