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Svalbard Reindeer

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A presentation case study originally authored using Apple Keynote. Svalbard Reindeer follwing 10000 years of isolation have developed into a unique subspecies

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Svalbard Reindeer

  1. 1. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems The Svalbard Reindeer 4.1.3: Isolation and Evolution
  2. 2. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Svalbard • Svalbard is an ancient island within the Arctic circle • At its Northern most point Svalbard is only 1100 km from the North Pole Norway • During the last Ice Age it was connected to the mainland Finland Sweden
  3. 3. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Svalbard • Following the end of the Ice Age about 10000 B.P., Organism on Svalbard became isolated from their mainland counterparts • This has led to evolutionary development in many of the species on the island Norway Finland Sweden
  4. 4. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Conditions on Svalbard • Permanent ice covers much of Svalbard • Only on coastal lowlands does snow melt in the summer • Short growing period from late June to early October Source: Google Maps
  5. 5. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Conditions on Svalbard • Snow melt causes erosion of limited soil cover • Some enrichment around seabird nesting areas • There are no trees on the island • Despite this a wide variety of plants exist but in low numbers Source: Google Maps
  6. 6. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Conditions on Svalbard • Wind and frost also make it difficult for plants • Few animals other than the Svaldbard Reindeer have colonised the island • There are no large predators Source: Google Maps
  7. 7. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Mainland Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) • Live in herds • Thick fur insulates against the winter • Lot of social interaction within herds • Dig through snow with large feet for food in Winter © 2004 Peter Nijenhuis
  8. 8. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Mainland Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) • In winter survive eating lichen, in particular Cadonia rangiferina (Reindeer moss) • In the summer eat a wide variety of plants • Long heads with eyes set far back allow mainland Reindeer to spot predators even when grazing © 2004 Peter Nijenhuis
  9. 9. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Mainland Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) • Living in herds give protection • But increases competition for food • In summer Reindeer starve • Also parasitic warble fly larvae hatch out and get passed on within the herd • Both male and Females have antlers © 2004 Peter Nijenhuis
  10. 10. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) • Smaller and more squat than mainland cousins • Live singly or in small groups because of lack of predators • Less competition for food • Smaller antlers that both sexes lose in winter © 2006 Amanda Graham
  11. 11. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) • Feed on tough vascular plants even in winter mainly Dryas octipatina • Large adapted stomachs with unique micro-organisms to help digest poor diet • Svalbard Reindeer put on fat stores during the summer to help survive the harsh winters © 2006 Amanda Graham
  12. 12. Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity 4.1: Biodiversity in ecosystems Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) • Calves supplement their diet by suckling into the winter following their birth • Few parasites because of living in small numbers • Squat body form means that galloping is inefficient © 2006 Amanda Graham

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