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Behavioral heat-stress compensation in a cold-adapted ungulate: forage-mediated responses to warming Alpine summers
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  • Paola Semenzato,
  • Francesca Cagnacci,
  • Emanuele Eccel,
  • Federico Ossi,
  • Mark Hewison,
  • Nicolas Morellet,
  • Enrico Sturaro,
  • Maurizio Ramanzin
Paola Semenzato
University of Padova - Agripolis Campus
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Francesca Cagnacci
Fondazione Edmund Mach Centro Ricerca e Innovazione
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Emanuele Eccel
Fondazione Edmund Mach Centro Ricerca e Innovazione
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Federico Ossi
University of Trento
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Mark Hewison
CEFS-INRA
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Nicolas Morellet
CEFS-INRA
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Enrico Sturaro
University of Padova
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Maurizio Ramanzin
University of Padova
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Abstract

Alpine large herbivores have developed physiological and behavioral mechanisms to cope with fluctuations in climate and resource availability, but climate warming might induce behavioral maladaptation. We verified this hypothesis in female Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) by modelling seasonal and daily movement and activity patterns in function of temperature and vegetation productivity, based on bio-logging data and climate change projections. In late spring, ibex moved upslope, tracking the green-wave in plant phenology. Ibex sharply decreased diel activity above a threshold mean daily temperature of 13°C, indicating thermal stress, but compensating behaviorally by foraging earlier at dawn, and later at dusk, and by moving upslope higher than on cooler days. This temperature threshold will be exceeded more than three times as often under climate change projections. In such scenarios, the imperative requirement for thermal shelter may force Alpine ibex towards topographic edges, impacting individual performance and population distribution of this emblematic mountain ungulate.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

26 Sep 2020Submitted to Ecology Letters
28 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
28 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
29 Sep 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
20 Oct 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Oct 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
12 Jan 20211st Revision Received
18 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
18 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
18 Jan 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
16 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
12 Mar 20212nd Revision Received
12 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
12 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
13 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
13 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Accept