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Effects of Large Scale Climate Patterns (PDO, ENSO, AO) on Calving Ground Location, Forage Availability, and Calf Survival of the Porcupine Caribou Herd


June 2016 - October 2019


Our goal is to develop a mechanistic understanding of why Concentrated Calving Areas (CCAs) of the Porcupine Caribou Herd (PCH) were located predominantly in the Yukon Territory, 2000-2013, after a 17 year period (1983-1999) of being located predominantly in Alaska and the 1002 Area (Fig. 1 a,b). This goal addresses whether or not the eastward shift in concentrated calving, 2000-2013 is “permanent” or may be one phase of a cyclic phenomenon. The working hypothesis is that PCH caribou shifted calving eastward, 2000-2013, because the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) shifted to a negative phase and affected the location of high quality/high quantity forage in relation to predation risk (i.e., cows continued to find the best place to calve in a variable and cyclic climate). When the PDO shifts back to a predominantly positive phase, we expect calving to shift back to the Alaska Coastal Plain.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 240

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 52

University Staff: 242

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 702

Scientific Publications: 1951

Presentations: 4266



Funding Agencies

  • Science Support Program (SSP) FWS


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey