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Abstract

Partial migration is common in a large variety of taxa in seasonally variable environments. Understanding the mechanisms underlying migration is important, as migration affects individual fi tness. Migratory herbivores bene fi t from delayed forage maturation and hence higher food quality during migra- tion and at their summer range, termed the forage maturation hypothesis (FMH). The link between diet quality and rumination time allows migrants eating a higher quality diet to spend less time on rumination, and they can thus allocate more time to additional feeding. However, such an argument implicitly assumes that deer are energy maximizers, while studies have reported also time minimization strategies under risk of predation. Male and female distributions are limited by different factors linked to both body size differ- ences and reproductive strategies, but there is no study investigating differences in activity pattern accord- ing to the individual migratory patterns for male and female deer. We here unify the FMH with the hypotheses predicting sex-speci fi c time allocation strategies. To test predictions of sex-speci fi c activity of resident and migratory red deer ( Cervus elaphus ), we analyzed activity data of 286 individuals that were fi tted with GPS collars from a population in western Norway. While migrants were more active during the migration itself, we found no differences in activity pattern between migrant and resident deer during the main growth season, neither in terms of proportion of daily time active nor in terms of daily mean movement speed, thus rejecting that deer were energy maximizers. Overall, we found that females were more active during the main growth season even after controlling for body size differences. These patterns are consistent with patterns predicted from sexual segregation theory linked to the reproductive strategy hypothesis. Our study highlights how the understanding of migration can be advanced by considering it in the context of different reproductive strategies of males and females.

To document

Abstract

1. Population-level management is difficult to achieve if wildlife routinely crosses administrative boundaries, as is particularly frequent for migratory populations. However, the degree of mismatch between management units and scales at which ecological processes operate has rarely been quantified. Such insight is vital for delimiting functional population units of partially migratory species common in northern forest ecosystems. 2. We combined an extensive dataset of 412 GPS-marked red deer (Cervus elaphus) across Norway with information on the size and borders of two administrative levels, the governmental level (municipality) and landowner level (local management units, LMUs), to determine the timing and scale of mismatch between animal space use and management units. We analysed how landscape characteristics affected the use of management units and the timing and likelihood of crossing borders between them, in an effort to delineate more appropriate units in various landscapes. 3. Median municipality size could potentially cover 70% of female and 62% of male annual ranges, while only 12% and 4% of LMUs were expansive enough to accommodate migratory routes in females and males, respectively. Red deer migrate along elevational gradients and are more likely to find both suitable lowland winter habitat and higher summer habitat within management units with variable topography. Consistent with this, the likelihood of border crossing decreased with increasing diversity of elevations. 4. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate a considerable mismatch between animal space use and management units. Far-ranging movements and frequent administrative border crossings during autumn migration coincides with the period of active management (hunting season). Our study also highlights that, due to extensive movements of males, coordination of management aims may provide a more realistic avenue than increasing sizes of local management units. A more general insight is that the degree of mismatch between range use and management units depends on the season and landscape type. This needs to be accounted for when delimitating functional population units of migratory populations.