Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Open Access Thesis

Keywords

Reindeer--Migration--Russia (Federation)--Taymyr Peninsula; Reindeer--Migration--Climatic factors--Russia (Federation)--Taymyr Peninsula;

Abstract

The Taimyr Reindeer Herd (TRH) is the largest wild reindeer population in the world, and is located in the northern central region of Arctic Russia. Previous detailed research on the spatiotemporal dynamics of this herd have been conducted involving aerial population censuses for two of the three seasons for reindeer: calving (Meerdink, 2012) and summer (Cooney, 2014). The first part of this study continues with the methods of the previous studies, analyzing the spatiotemporal fidelity of the TRH in the winter season. This was completed using geospatial analysis of digitized historical aerial census data of reindeer locations, and analyzing areas of repeated reoccurrence by the herd. Findings included evidence of four regions of high reoccurrence within the winter range: three plateaus, two of similar latitude and one located to the northeast, and an outlier area in close proximity to human development. Using NASA’s remote sensed Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) meteorological dataset for three chosen winter census years, a statistical analysis of the conditions and patterns of usage by reindeer for the areas of high fidelity were assessed. Results of this analysis suggest that weather variables, low surface temperatures, high total precipitation (snow) and snow depth, are deterrents for reindeer presence in specific areas of their wintering grounds. The second study within this thesis used data from the first ever satellite biotelemetry collaring of the TRH. By employing Argos collars, almost 11 months of location data was collected during the fall migration, winter season and spring migration of 2013-2014. These efforts produced data for eleven successfully monitored reindeer. A subset of reindeer within this sample were analyzed further to determine behavior of seasonal movements and migration distance. Analyses produced clear evidence of patterned fall and spring migration, as well as winter seasonal behavior. The subset of reindeer provided data regarding potential categorization of different sexes between reindeer by movement patterns alone. The results from both parts of the thesis were utilized to better understand site selection for the TRH’s winter season and migrations, giving clues to understanding the activities and survival of the herd during the extreme Siberian winter.

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Department of Geography

First Advisor

Andrey Petrov, Chair

Date Original

5-2016

Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 108 pages)

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

Available for download on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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