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- Large-scale movements of a young female Arctic fox from Svalbard tracked through Argos satellite telemetry from 1 March to 1 July 2018 (date of passage is indicated at several locations along the track). The black dots represent the daily locations, and the colour of the segments linking successive locations indicates the daily movement rate. The sea-ice data show the concentration on 2 April 2018. Sea-ice data retrieved from https://seaice.uni-bremen.de/data/ (Spreen et al. 2008). Map projection is Polar Stereographic (EPSG3996). For an animated version of this map, see https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8288159.v1.

- Large-scale movements of a young female Arctic fox from Svalbard tracked through Argos satellite telemetry from 1 March to 1 July 2018 (date of passage is indicated at several locations along the track). The black dots represent the daily locations, and the colour of the segments linking successive locations indicates the daily movement rate. The sea-ice data show the concentration on 2 April 2018. Sea-ice data retrieved from https://seaice.uni-bremen.de/data/ (Spreen et al. 2008). Map projection is Polar Stereographic (EPSG3996). For an animated version of this map, see https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8288159.v1.

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Article
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We report the first satellite tracking of natal dispersal by an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) between continents and High-Arctic ecosystems. A young female left Spitsbergen (Svalbard Archipelago, Norway) on 26 March 2018 and reached Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, 76 days later, after travelling a cumulative distance of 3506 km, bringing her ca. 1...

Citations

... Arctic foxes are well-known for their long-range movements, specifically using the sea ice Fuglei and Tarroux 2019). When rodent abundance is low, they respond numerically to marine resources, suggesting that exploiting the sea ice in winter is a well-established strategy for responding to prey scarcity (Roth 2003). ...
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Resource fluctuation is a major driver of animal movement, influencing strategic choices such as residency vs nomadism, or social dynamics. The Arctic tundra is characterized by strong seasonality: resources are abundant during the short summers but scarce in winters. Therefore, expansion of boreal-forest species onto the tundra raises questions on how they cope with winter-resource scarcity. We examined a recent incursion by red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) onto the coastal tundra of western Hudson Bay, an area historically occupied by Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) that lacks access to anthropogenic foods, and compared seasonal shifts in space use of the two species. We used 4 years of telemetry data following 8 red foxes and 11 Arctic foxes to test the hypothesis that the movement strategies of both species are primarily driven by temporal variability of resources. We also predicted that the harsh tundra conditions in winter affect red foxes more than Arctic foxes, which are adapted to this environment. Dispersal was the most frequent winter movement strategy in both fox species, despite its association with high mortality (winter mortality was 9.4 times higher in dispersers than residents). Red foxes consistently dispersed towards the boreal forest, whereas Arctic foxes primarily used sea ice to disperse. Home range size of red and Arctic foxes did not differ in summer, but resident red foxes substantially increased their home range size in winter, whereas home range size of resident Arctic foxes did not change seasonally. As climate changes, abiotic constraints on some species may relax, but associated declines in prey communities may lead to local extirpation of many predators, notably by favoring dispersal during resource scarcity.
... The epizootics and seemingly solitary cases on Svalbard, where Arctic fox density is stable and relatively low (Fuglei 2006), and a minor, introduced rodent population inhabits a limited area (see upcoming text), are interpreted as consequences of such fox migrations over sea ice, possibly from distant locations (Mørk and Prestrud 2004;Fuglei and Tarroux 2019). However, other potential mechanisms for introduction or persistence of RABV have not been properly investigated in this ecosystem. ...
Article
Rabies is an important zoonotic disease with high fatality rates in animals and humans. In the Arctic, the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is regarded as the principal reservoir, but there is considerable debate about how the disease persists at the low population densities that are typical for this species. We describe an outbreak of rabies among Arctic foxes and Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) during 2011-2012 on the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, an area with a very low and relatively stable Arctic fox density. The aim of the research was to increase knowledge of Arctic rabies in this ecosystem and in the presumed spillover host, the Svalbard reindeer. Phylogenetic analysis of rabies virus (RABV) RNA isolates from Arctic fox and reindeer was performed, and clinical observations and histologic and immunohistochemical findings in reindeer were described. An ongoing capture-mark-recapture project allowed collection of serum samples from clinically healthy reindeer from the affected population for detection of rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies. The outbreak was caused by at least two different variants belonging to the RABV Arctic-2 and Arctic-3 clades, which suggests that rabies was introduced to Svalbard on at least two different occasions. The RABV variants found in Arctic fox and reindeer were similar within locations, suggesting that Arctic foxes and reindeer acquired the infection from the same source(s). The histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings in 10 reindeer were consistent with descriptions in other species infected with RABV of non-Arctic lineages. Evidence of RABV was detected in both brain and salivary gland samples. None of 158 examined serum samples from clinically healthy reindeer had virus-neutralizing antibodies against RABV.
... Studies of the vertebrates of Brøggerhalvøya span a wide range of resident and migratory species and research topics, including physiological and behavioral adaptations to the High-Arctic environment (Gabrielsen et al. 1985;Steen & Gabrielsen 1988;Gabrielsen et al. 1991;Frafjord 1992;Fuglei 2000;Sandström et al. 2014), growth and body size Bishop et al. 1995;Tombre et al. 1996;Loonen et al. 1997), population ecology and dynamics Prestrud 1992;Hansen et al. 2011;Pedersen et al. 2014;Unander et al. 2016;Layton-Matthews et al. 2019), diseases and parasites (Prestrud 1992;Dolnik & Loonen 2007;Prestrud et al. 2007;Sandström et al. 2013), spatial ecology (Stahl & Loonen 1998;Fuglei & Tarroux 2019;Pedersen et al. 2021), trophic interactions (e.g., van der Wal & Loonen 1998;Fuglei et al. 2003;Dabert et al. 2015;de Jong et al. 2019;Layton-Matthews et al. 2020) and climate change impacts (Hansen et al. 2011;Layton-Matthews et al. 2020;Layton-Matthews et al. 2021). Some of the most extensive time series available for vertebrate populations in Svalbard originate from Ny-Ålesund and Brøggerhalvøya (Supplementary Table S1). ...
... The impact of climate change on Arctic foxes is predicted to be mediated through mostly indirect pathways . Lack of sea ice has a negative impact on fox populations by restricting both migration and exploitation of marine resources in winter (Prestrud 1992;Fuglei & Tarroux 2019). The abundance of two key terrestrial food resources, geese and Svalbard reindeer (in the form of carcasses), along with marine subsidies, also determines fluctuations in local Arctic fox reproduction and abundance, which follow reindeer population dynamics (Fuglei et al. 2003;Hansen et al. 2013). ...
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For more than five decades, research has been conducted at Ny-Ålesund, in Svalbard, Norway, to understand the structure and functioning of High-Arctic ecosystems and the profound impacts on them of environmental change. Terrestrial, freshwater, glacial and marine ecosystems are accessible year-round from Ny-Ålesund, providing unique opportunities for interdisciplinary observational and experimental studies along physical, chemical, hydrological and climatic gradients. Here, we synthesize terrestrial and freshwater research at Ny-Ålesund and review current knowledge of biodiversity patterns, species population dynamics and interactions, ecosystem processes, biogeochemical cycles and anthropogenic impacts. There is now strong evidence of past and ongoing biotic changes caused by climate change, including negative effects on populations of many taxa and impacts of rain-on-snow events across multiple trophic levels. While species-level characteristics and responses are well understood for macro-organisms, major knowledge gaps exist for microbes, invertebrates and ecosystem-level processes. In order to fill current knowledge gaps, we recommend (1) maintaining monitoring efforts, while establishing a long-term ecosystem-based monitoring programme; (2) gaining a mechanistic understanding of environmental change impacts on processes and linkages in food webs; (3) identifying trophic interactions and cascades across ecosystems; and (4) integrating long-term data on microbial, invertebrate and freshwater communities, along with measurements of carbon and nutrient fluxes among soils, atmosphere, freshwaters and the marine environment. The synthesis here shows that the Ny-Ålesund study system has the characteristics needed to fill these gaps in knowledge, thereby enhancing our understanding of High-Arctic ecosystems and their responses to environmental variability and change.
... Rannsóknir á erfðaefni benda til þess að íslenski stofninn hafi verið einangraður hér á landi frá því að ísöld lauk. 1 Helsta orsökin er sú að Ísland liggur tiltölulega langt frá hafísnum sem leggst yfir norðurhvelið að vetrarlagi og skapar greiðar farleiðir fyrir refi. 2,3 Þótt sýnt hafi verið fram á að íslenski refastofninn sé einangraður nú á tímum er talið líklegt að hingað hafi borist stöku dýr með hafís frá Graenlandi á kuldaskeiðum fyrri alda. 4 Aðlögun melrakkans að íslenskri náttúru einkennist af stöðugu en fjölbreyttu faeðuvali, skorti á samkeppni (hér eru ekki rauðrefir, V. vulpes) og lítilli sem engri afránshaettu. ...
... Alls gekk hún rúma 3.500 kílómetra á 76 dögum. 3 Þessi laeða ferðaðist til heimskautaeyju í Kanada þar sem refir lifa aðallega á laemingjum. Er þetta eina þekkta daemið um að refir skipti á milli faeðuvistgerða en óvíst er hvernig laeðunni reiddi af í hinu nýja og framandi umhverfi þar sem rafhlaðan kláraðist í senditaekinu. ...
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Tímarit Hins íslenska náttúrufraeðifélags 97 Ritrýnd grein / Peer reviewed Ester Rut Unnsteinsdóttir TÓFAN er eitt af flaggskipum rannsókna á áhrifum hlýnunar á lífríki norðurslóða og landfraeðileg einangrun tegundarinnar gerir Ísland mikilvaegt sem samanburðarsvaeði. Þekking á lífsháttum og líffraeði íslenska refsins er því mikilvaeg, og sem betur fer liggur fyrir talsverður efniviður sem varpar ljósi á stöðu tegundarinnar hérlendis og í alþjóðlegu samhengi. Íslenski melrakkinn-fyrsti hluti Stofnbreytingar, veiðar og verndun Náttúrufraeðingurinn 91 (3-4) bls. 97-111, 2021 Ljósmynd/Photo: Gyða Henningsdóttir.
... The speed of epizootic expansion in Western Siberia steppes was significantly higher, 160-513 km per year [12]. The highest virus dissemination rates were observed in the Arctic region and provided by the long-distance migration of Arctic foxes over the frozen ocean in winter [13][14][15]. This unique ecology of the reservoir host provides a highly dynamic RABV reservoir with virus spread rates of thousands of kilometers per year and almost instant intercontinental transmission of the virus. ...
Article
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Rabies is a globally prevalent viral zoonosis that causes 59,000 deaths per year and has important economic consequences. Most virus spread is associated with the migration of its primary hosts. Anthropogenic dissemination, mainly via the transportation of rabid dogs, shaped virus ecology a few hundred years ago and is responsible for several current outbreaks. A systematic analysis of aberrant long-distance events in the steppe and Arctic-like groups of rabies virus was performed using statistical (Bayesian) phylogeography and plots of genetic vs. geographic distances. The two approaches produced similar results but had some significant differences and complemented each other. No phylogeographic analysis could be performed for the Arctic group because polar foxes transfer the virus across the whole circumpolar region at high velocity, and there was no correlation between genetic and geographic distances in this virus group. In the Arctic-like group and the steppe subgroup of the cosmopolitan group, a significant number of known sequences (15%–20%) was associated with rapid long-distance transfers, which mainly occurred within Eurasia. Some of these events have been described previously, while others have not been documented. Most of the recent long-distance transfers apparently did not result in establishing the introduced virus, but a few had important implications for the phylogeographic history of rabies. Thus, human-mediated long-distance transmission of the rabies virus remains a significant threat that needs to be addressed.
... The longest round-trip distances undertaken by migrating terrestrial mammals reach 1350 km (caribou Rangifer tarandus) and total annual distances traveled may be >7000 km (gray wolf Canis lupus) (Joly et al., 2019). In the last decade, the sustained rise of animal tracking has continued to unveil increasing records of long-distance movements (e.g., Arctic fox Vulpes lagopus; Fuglei & Tarroux, 2019) and has uncovered unsuspected longrange migrations in terrestrial mammals (e.g., Burchell's zebra Equus quagga; Naidoo et al., 2014). Lagomorphs (pikas, rabbits, and hares) are small to medium-sized herbivores that occupy diverse habitats across all continents except Antarctica. ...
... Another possible mechanism of introduction to consider could be through the dispersal movements of arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus), as evidenced by the satellite tracking of natal dispersal by a young female between continents, from Svalbard Archipelago (Norway) to Ellesmere Island, Nunavut (Canada), in 76 days (Fuglei and Tarroux, 2019). However, only the Asian and North American strains have been reported in the northern territories in North America, whereas the European strain seems to be restricted to the NCR (Fig. 1) (Nakao et al., 2009;Gesy et al., 2013;Gesy and Jenkins, 2015;Massolo et al., 2019;Santa et al., 2021). ...
Article
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In a fast-changing and globalized world, parasites are moved across continents at an increasing pace. Co-invasion of parasites and their hosts is leading to the emergence of infectious diseases at a global scale, underlining the need for integration of biological invasions and disease ecology research. In this review, the ecological and evolutionary factors influencing the invasion process of parasites with complex life cycles were analysed, using the invasion of the European strain of Echinococcus multilocularis in North America as a model. The aim was to propose an ecological framework for investigating the invasion of parasites that are tro-phically transmitted through predator-prey interactions, showing how despite the complexity of the cycles and the interactions among multiple hosts, such parasites can overcome multiple barriers and become invasive. Identifying the key ecological processes affecting the success of parasite invasions is an important step for risk assessment and development of management strategies, particularly for parasites with the potential to infect people (i.e. zoonotic).
... Numerous flora species bordering the Fram Strait (i.e., East Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland) dispersed passively with the help of seaice, where driftwood carrying seeds comes from large rivers like the Yenisey or the Yukon (Alsos et al., 2016). The arctic fox Vulpes lagopus is an iconic long-distance traveler, with the fastest travel recorded being 3506 km on ice in 76 days between Svalbard and northern Canada (Fuglei & Tarroux, 2019). The presence of sea-ice predicts the genetic isolation of arctic foxes in areas that are no longer connected to sea-ice, such as Iceland, Fennoscandia, or the Aleutians; areas that are now subject to isolation and subsequent inbreeding (Norén et al., 2017). ...
Chapter
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The magnified effects of climate change in the Arctic alter marine and terrestrial communities in profound ways. Together with alterations in resource availability, quality and quantities, and increasing pressure by boreal competitors and predators invading from the South, Arctic organisms will be strained. The ongoing changes in the environment act across the range of ecological levels of arctic biota (that is, the wildlife). In particular, changes at the base of the food web can ripple throughout the ecosystem, affecting iconic top predators. For instance, earlier spring onset advances sea-ice break-up and vegetation green-up, creating a potential mismatch between trophic levels; “replacement prey” invading from the south may be of lower quality to Arctic predators; winter warm spells modify snowpack properties that control vegetation available to herbivores. These examples have implications for the entire ecosystem and can modify abiotic factors through feedback loops such as vegetation cover affecting climate. The speed at which cold-adapted Arctic species can adapt to changing conditions will depend on their life history strategies, gene flow between populations, and hybridization with boreal species. Population isolation increases with habitat fragmentation from sea-ice loss and industrialization. The spatial extent to which climate change will synchronize population responses will determine population resiliency. The more heterogenous environmental gradients are, the more likely it is that Arctic species will find a suitable niche, maintaining biotic biodiversity.
... Sea ice extent.-Sea ice is important for arctic foxes both as hunting grounds and as a platform for dispersal (Lai et al. 2017, Fuglei andTarroux 2019). Svalbard arctic foxes hunt seal pups on the sea ice in spring (Lydersen and Gjertz 1986), and foxes may follow polar bears on the sea ice to scavenge on their seal kills (Hiruki and Stirling 1989). ...
... population of arctic foxes appears to lie clearly above a recently reported mean for mammalian populations (26%, Millon et al. 2019). This could be a consequence of our definition of the study area, which is relatively small compared with movement ranges of arctic foxes (Tarroux et al. 2010, Fuglei andTarroux 2019), but may also be related to immigration acting as a compensatory mechanism replacing individuals lost due to harvest. ...
Article
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Climate change has different and sometimes divergent effects on terrestrial and marine food webs, and in coastal ecosystems, these effects are tightly interlinked. Responses of opportunistic coastal predators and scavengers to climate change may thus be complex and potentially highly flexible, and can simultaneously serve as indicators of, and have profound impacts on, lower trophic levels. Gaining mechanistic understanding of these responses is therefore important, but often not feasible due to lack of long‐term data from marked individuals. Here, we used a Bayesian integrated population model (IPM) to elucidate the effects of arctic warming and concurrent changes in terrestrial and marine resource availability on population dynamics of the opportunistic arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) in Svalbard. Joint analysis of four types of data (den survey, age‐at‐harvest, placental scars, mark‐recovery) revealed relatively stable population size and age structure over the last 22 yr (1997–2019) despite rapid environmental change linked to climate warming. This was related to the fact that terrestrial resources (reindeer carcasses, geese) became more abundant while the availability of marine resources (seal pups/carrion) decreased, and was driven by divergent trends in different vital rates (e.g., increased pregnancy rate but decreased pup survival). Balanced contributions of survival vs. reproduction and of immigration vs. local demography further stabilized population size. Our study thus sheds light on the mechanisms underlying population dynamics of opportunistic carnivores exploiting terrestrial and marine resources and suggests that exploitation of resources across different ecosystems can buffer predators against climate change. Additionally, it highlights the large potential of IPMs as tools to understand and predict the effects of environmental change on wildlife populations, even when data on marked individuals are sparse.
... Indeed, the evidence supports extensive gene flow between members of this host species throughout the region no doubt facilitated by their frequent long-distance movements. This is especially notable during natal dispersal, as documented recently by satellite collar data for a young vixen who travelled an average of 46.3 kilometers a day over 76 days between the Svalbard islands and Ellesmere Island in northern Canada [59]. The ability of these animals to disperse long distances over pack ice renders them eminently capable of rapidly spreading diseases throughout the Arctic, particularly a viral disease such as rabies which can have an incubation period of weeks or even months. ...
Article
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Rabies spreads in both Arctic ( Vulpes lagopus ) and red foxes ( Vulpes vulpes ) throughout the Canadian Arctic but limited wildlife disease surveillance, due to the extensive landmass of the Canadian north and its small widely scattered human population, undermines our knowledge of disease transmission patterns. This study has explored genetic population structure in both the rabies virus and its fox hosts to better understand factors that impact rabies spread. Phylogenetic analysis of 278 samples of the Arctic lineage of rabies virus recovered over 40 years identified four sub-lineages, A1 to A4. The A1 lineage has been restricted to southern regions of the Canadian province of Ontario. The A2 lineage, which predominates in Siberia, has also spread to northern Alaska while the A4 lineage was recovered from southern Alaska only. The A3 sub-lineage, which was also found in northern Alaska, has been responsible for virtually all cases across northern Canada and Greenland, where it further differentiated into 18 groups which have systematically evolved from a common predecessor since 1975. In areas of Arctic and red fox sympatry, viral groups appear to circulate in both hosts, but both mitochondrial DNA control region sequences and 9-locus microsatellite genotypes revealed contrasting phylogeographic patterns for the two fox species. Among 157 Arctic foxes, 33 mitochondrial control region haplotypes were identified but little genetic structure differentiating localities was detected. Among 162 red foxes, 18 control region haplotypes delineated three groups which discriminated among the Churchill region of Manitoba, northern Quebec and Labrador populations, and the coastal Labrador locality of Cartwright. Microsatellite analyses demonstrated some genetic heterogeneity among sampling localities of Arctic foxes but no obvious pattern, while two or three clusters of red foxes suggested some admixture between the Churchill and Quebec-Labrador regions but uniqueness of the Cartwright group. The limited population structure of Arctic foxes is consistent with the rapid spread of rabies virus subtypes throughout the north, while red fox population substructure suggests that disease spread in this host moves most readily down certain independent corridors such as the northeastern coast of Canada and the central interior. Interestingly the evidence suggests that these red fox populations have limited capacity to maintain the virus over the long term, but they may contribute to viral persistence in areas of red and Arctic fox sympatry.