Inès Fache

Université du Québec à Rimouski
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: François Vézina
Oliver Love, University of Windsor
Start: 2022-10-04


Study of the factors impacting the demographic dynamics of a migratory arctic passerine in North America: the snow bunting.
Many factors have contributed to changes in landscapes over the last century, such as global warming, the anthropization of environments and the intensification and mechanization of agricultural practices. These changes will impact all species dependent on farmlands during the entirety or part of their life cycle. It is especially true for migratory species that travel great distances in a limited time and must constantly find new food sources. It has been demonstrated that granivorous migratory birds are sensitive to these changes, which manifest in a disappearance or a decline in the quality of their food resources. In consequence, a significant decline in the concerned population can be observed. However, few studies highlight this decline for avian species, especially for the most common ones. It's the snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) case, a migratory arctic passerine that winters in the snowy plains of Canada. Over the past 60 years, preliminary research observed a local population decline of 60 to 70%, without knowing the exact causes. My thesis project, therefore, consists of studying the demographic trends of the North American wintering population of snow bunting and determining the possible impacts of environmental factors on the species. For this, I will use data from historical monitoring and experimental techniques to learn about (1) snow bunting population trends (population decline or shift) from continental to local scales, (2) environmental and agricultural factors associated with variations in population numbers, (3) the link between the overall condition and diet selection in winter and finally (4) the influence of agricultural practices on snow bunting condition and performance.


Snow bunting, demographic trends, global warming , diet selection, wintering, agriculture, ecophysiology