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POPULATION ECOLOGY Res Altwegg Alexandre Roulin Matthias Kestenholz

Res Altwegg Alexandre Roulin Matthias Kestenholz
Lukas Jenni
Demographic effects of extreme winter weather in the barn owl
Received: 5 September 2005 / Accepted: 29 March 2006 / Published online: 28 April 2006
Springer-Verlag 2006
Abstract Extreme weather events can lead to immediate
catastrophic mortality. Due to their rare occurrence,
however, the long-term impacts of such events for
ecological processes are unclear. We examined the effect
of extreme winters on barn owl (Tyto alba) survival and
reproduction in Switzerland over a 68-year period ($20
generations). This long-term data set allowed us to
compare events that occurred only once in several
decades to more frequent events. Winter harshness ex-
plained 17 and 49% of the variance in juvenile and adult
survival, respectively, and the two harshest winters were
associated with major population crashes caused by
simultaneous low juvenile and adult survival. These two
winters increased the correlation between juvenile and


Source: Altwegg, Res - Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology