We investigated dietary variation during three winters in female Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) on the basis of rumen samples from animals culled in early and late winter during 2000–2002. The winter diet was compared to a late summer diet on the basis of samples from 1999, with variations in dietary composition in early and late winter among years also investigated. We conducted our assessment by identifying plant fragments in rumen samples using a point identification method. The effects of season and year on dietary composition of females were tested using non-parametric multifactorial MANOVA. During early winter, the diet seemed to be a function of both plant availability and plant quality, with the latter also highly important for the summer diet. During late winter, restricted forage availability due to snow cover seemed to have influenced dietary composition. We also found dietary variation among years both in early and late winter. We hypothesize that climatic effects previously found on the growth rate of Svalbard reindeer populations may be mediated through interannual variation in their diet where increased summer precipitation and winter rain may affect the dietary composition through decreased availability of forage biomass.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.