|Date||20 Jun 2016|
Phenology – the timing of seasonal activities of plants and animals – is one of the simplest processes to track changes in species ecology. Such phenological patterns are tightly linked to seasonality in temperate and sub-tropic regions, where human disturbances and climate change can lead to temporal mismatch between phenological phases of plants and ungulate reproduction impacting their reproductive success. Such impacts have not been explored in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot with world’s highest mountain ungulate diversity. Himalaya is expected to experience higher rates of warming than the global average. How is plant phenology linked to ungulate reproduction? How would human disturbance and climate change affect plant phenology, and reproductive phenology of ungulates? How will this impact ecology of ungulate communities? We need to address these questions to retain these ungulate communities in the face of increasing human disturbance and climate change. In this study we would identify the linkages among plant phenology, diet composition and reproductive cycles in three ungulate species within an elevation range of 2500 m to 4500 m in the Sikkim Himalaya.
Data on reproductive cycles, forage quality, and diet composition would come from samples already collected by us and additional samples to be collected in 2016-17. My study in last few years in Sikkim shows the influence of topography and seasonality on plant phenology and ungulate habitat use. Combining it with reproductive phenology data from this project, we aim to examine these linkages, as a baseline to track impacts of climate change on the ecology of mountain ungulates and better manage their populations.
For further information contact: