An estimated 2.6 million caribou have disappeared from the Arctic in the last 20 years. While habitat, human disturbance, predation and climate change have been investigated as causes for these declines, the impact of disease and how climate changes influence disease in caribou are not well defined. Researchers will analyze evidence of pathogens in archived data and samples collected from distinct regional populations of tundra caribou with contrasting population trends. The team also will investigate the dynamics and abundance of identified pathogens to understand how select pathogens affect, either directly or with climate-mediated effects, population dynamics. This new data will provide a better understanding of disease factors driving caribou declines and help inform the development of effective conservation plans for the species.
Grant amount awarded
University of Calgary
Xavier Fernandez Aguilar, DVM, PhD