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Changing arctic ecosystems—What is causing the rapid increase of snow geese in northern Alaska?

September 10, 2015

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) informs key resource management decisions for Arctic Alaska by providing scientific information on current and future ecosystem response to a warming climate. The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaska is a key study area within the USGS CAE initiative. This region has experienced a warming trend over the past decades, leading to decreased sea ice, permafrost thaw, and an advancement of spring phenology. The number of birds on the ACP also is changing, marked by increased populations of the four species of geese that nest in the region. The Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) is the most rapidly increasing of these species. USGS CAE research is quantifying these changes and their implications for management agencies.

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