Moose & Hare

You have reached a web page that is dedicated to the research project “Climate change, landscape change, pollution and the impacts of pathogens, parasites and toxicants on moose and hare population performance (Moose&Hare)"

Moose and hare

There is growing recognition around how anthropogenic environmental changes significantly affect the health of wild and domestic animals, and humans, resulting in both infectious and non-communicable diseases.

By exploring the relationship between pathogens, parasites, toxicants and population performance, and the cumulative impacts of climate change, landscape change, pollution and management on health and performance in two common, cold-adapted species, the moose (Alces alces) and the mountain hare (Lepus timidus), the project seeks to understand the health implications of current and anticipated environmental change.

This will allow us to retrieve knowledge and identify solutions to promote both animal health, human health and ecosystem integrity. Moose and mountain hare populations in the nemoral and boreonemoral zones of southernmost Norway are chosen because these boreal species in this location are on the margin of their range (58-59° N). Here, they may face a climate they not are adapted to, making them ideal sentinel populations for studying effects of on-going climate change. In addition, this region has underwent drastic land use changes, is the part of Norway that is most exposed to air-borne pollution and, actually, both moose and hare populations show declines in performance.

We will collect samples along an elevation gradient in both the southern area and a 2nd, study area - in the boreal zone and further north (64° N). The material will be analyzed for selected climate-sensitive pathogens and parasites (tick-borne diseases and nematodes), toxic substances from bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum)(an indicator of land-use change), pollutants as heavy metals and trace elements (whose balance may be disturbed by acid rain). The data gained will be analyzed together with data on population performance and mapped data on climate, landscape, geology and sympatric animal populations in order to detect current/predict future effects of anthropogenic change.



Bjørnar Ytrehus