Jacob Caron Carrier

Université du Québec à Rimouski
M.Sc. candidate

Supervisor: Dominique Berteaux
Start: 2019-05-07


Spatial ecology of the arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) in Alert, Nunavut.
The arctic hare is one of the most abundant herbivores of the polar desert. It is omnipresent in the diet of many predators including the arctic wolf, the arctic fox, the stoat, the snowy owl, and the glaucous gull. Since its movements may influence the higher (predator reproduction) and lower (grazing pressure on plant communities) trophic levels, the arctic hare is considered a key species of the polar desert. However, the seasonal and annual movements of this species are largely unknown and have never been studied in the High-Arctic. Considering that the arctic hare is a key species of the Arctic, it is necessary to understand its movements to increase our understanding of the polar ecosystems. The general objective of my project is to describe the movements of the arctic hare in the polar desert. This objective can be divided into two sub-objectives. 1. To describe different parameters of arctic hares movements (average distance traveled, speed, direction, etc.) at the annual scale. 2. To determine which movement strategy (range residency, migration, nomadism) is used by the arctic hares at the annual scale. Between the 14th of June and the 26th of July 2019, 25 adult hares (4 males and 21 females) were captured and equipped with Argos collars, at the Canadian force station Alert, in Nunavut (82°30’N, 62°20’W). The filtered localisations of the hares will be use to answer our objectives. The sub-objective 1 will be reached by calculating for a set period (day, week, year) different parameters of movement (e.g. net displacement, mean displacement, average speed, the direction of movements). For the sub-objective 2, we will use a combination of NSD (net squared distance) and MSD (mean squared distance) with non-linear mixed models to differentiate the different movement strategies.


Arctic, Polar desert, Spatial Ecology, Arctic hare, migration, Nomadism