We studied body mass of prefledging Emperor Geese Chen canagica at three locations across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, during 1990-2004 to investigate whether large-scale variation in body mass was related to interspecific competition for food. From 1990 to 2004, densities of Cackling Geese Branta hutchinsii minima more than doubled and were c. 2-5?? greater than densities of Emperor Geese, which were relatively constant over time. Body mass of prefledging Emperor Geese was strongly related (negatively) to interspecific densities of geese (combined density of Cackling and Emperor Geese) and positively related to measures of food availability (grazing lawn extent and net above-ground primary productivity (NAPP)). Grazing by geese resulted in consumption of ??? 90% of the NAPP that occurred in grazing lawns during the brood-rearing period, suggesting that density-dependent interspecific competition was from exploitation of common food resources. Efforts to increase the population size of Emperor Geese would benefit from considering competitive interactions among goose species and with forage plants. ?? 2008 The Authors.
Additional publication details
Body mass of prefledging Emperor Geese Chen canagica: Large-scale effects of interspecific densities and food availability