2021
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Abstract: Species conservation in a rapidly changing world requires an improved understanding of how individuals and populations respond to changes in their environment across temporal scales. Increased warming in the Arctic puts this region at particular risk for rapid environmental change, with potentially devastating impacts on resident populations. Here, we make use of a parameterized full life cycle, individual‐based energy budget model for wild muskoxen, coupling year‐round environmental data with detailed ontogen… Show more

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“…To demonstrate, while previous statistical analysis found a relationship between muskox calf recruitment and winter severity, the approach taken by Desforges et al (2021) was able to identify the mechanism underlying this relationship: deeper snow depth limits winter food accessibility, increasing the likelihood that pregnant females will abort and first‐year calves struggle to compete for sufficient food. Furthermore, by tracking the changing state of individuals’ energy stores, the IBM provided novel insight into muskoxen responses to plausible environmental scenarios.…”
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“…To demonstrate, while previous statistical analysis found a relationship between muskox calf recruitment and winter severity, the approach taken by Desforges et al (2021) was able to identify the mechanism underlying this relationship: deeper snow depth limits winter food accessibility, increasing the likelihood that pregnant females will abort and first‐year calves struggle to compete for sufficient food. Furthermore, by tracking the changing state of individuals’ energy stores, the IBM provided novel insight into muskoxen responses to plausible environmental scenarios.…”
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“…One starting point is physiology, and in this issue, Desforges et al (2021) provide an example of how this might be applied using an individual‐based physiological model to understand the response of muskoxen ( Ovibos moschatus ) to environmental change in the high Arctic. Physiological mechanisms are assumed to have been shaped by natural selection to maximize individual fitness and are thus not expected to change under novel environmental conditions (Sibly et al, 2013).…”
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