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My research focuses on the behavioural response of wildlife, in terms of movement, to spatiotemporal changes in the environment and how this will affect individual fitness and, thereby, population dynamics.
During my PhD, I studied how human and natural intraseasonal changes in the environment affect movement of two large lowland herbivores across Europe, roe and red deer. In particular, I aimed to understand the mechanisms of movement of these two species to maximise access to food resources while avoiding risk exposure in a changing environment. Analysing GPS monitoring of roe deer individuals and red deer individuals across much of their European range, I described an overlooked movement tactic allowing individuals to track spatiotemporal variation in the distribution of available resources and to cope with changing environmental conditions. In a second step I aimed to quantify the causes and consequences of this movement tactic at the individual level, studying the consequences of this tactic on the reproductive success at a given year.
My work at SESYNC goes further and consists of understanding the rapid declines in caribou populations, focusing on the direct and indirect effects of climate and human development. By analysing and synthetizing very large-scale movement data from females caribou across North America with environmental and physiological data, I could disentangle the direct and cascading effects of climate change and human development on population dynamics of barren-ground caribou. This work would provide essential insights into the impact of climate and human-induced change on this keystone herbivore, and results could be used for conservation actions, to propose alternatives for mitigating these effects.