MARCO FESTA-BIANCHET, Full Professor
E-mail : M.Festa@USherbrooke.ca
Telephone : (819) 821-8000 ext 62061
Fax : (819) 821-8049
||Ram Mountain, early June 2008. The ewes (E13, 9 years old with yellow T collar,
4-year-old) are mother and daughter. E13
had already lost her lamb, while J5
was pregnant. She gave birth about 10 days later, but her lamb
died in winter. E13 disappeared
overwinter. In 2009-2012, none of J5's 4 lambs survived to 1 year
of age. Not the best mother.
|Eastern grey kangaroos can
sometimes be caught with a 5-m jabstick!
Here are an adult female (#8) and her son (#15), at Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria, August 2008. In 2009, #8 had a son and the next year she had a daughter. In 2011 her pouch young disappeared when aged a few months. #15 likely emigrated.
B.Sc. (Zoology), University of Alberta (1981)
M.Sc. (Zoology), University of Alberta (1982)
Ph.D. (Behavioral Ecology), University of Calgary (1987)
NATO Science Postdoctoral Fellow, Large Animal Research Group, Cambridge, UK (1987 to 1990)
|Ewe # 132 at Sheep River, Alberta, in 1986 at 2 years of age (left) and in 2000 at 16 years. She disappeared the following winter. She produced 14 lambs, of which 5 survived to 1 year of age.|
Animal ecology: individual reproductive success, reproductive strategy, population dynamics and conservation of mammals
Research GoalsMy research seeks to understand how individual differences affect reproductive success, reproductive strategies and population dynamics of large mammals. Large mammals are long-lived, highly iteroparous, and their population dynamics often show time lags. Therefore, long-term monitoring of marked individuals is the best approach to test theories on their reproductive success and population dynamics. My students and I produce knowledge useful for wildlife management and for the conservation of biodiversity. With mixed success, we argue that evolutionary ecology is important for conservation and for wildlife management.
Current Research Projects:Evolutionary ecology and population dynamics of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). With several students and collaborators, I monitor the Ram Mountain population in Alberta. We have marked over 1000 bighorns at Ram Mountain since 1972. This research has identified the factors that affect individual reproductive success, reproductive strategy, and population dynamics. We have quantified the selective effects of trophy hunting and exposed the possibility that they may have negatively affected population dynamics. Major collaborators are Jon Jorgenson of Alberta Fish & Wildlife, David Coltman of the University of Alberta and Fanie Pelletier of the Université de Sherbrooke. This research is partly funded by the Alberta Conservation Association and includes an analysis of long-term data on harvested rams in Alberta.
"Blue-blue" (#35T), 11 years old, visiting the trap at Ram Mountain, July 1999. He fathered at least 13 lambs, but was shot illegally in September 1999. Blue-blue was known for his love of salt and his lack of respect for handlers in the trap.
Selected recent publications:Zedrosser, A., F. Pelletier, R. Bischof, M. Festa-Bianchet and J.E. Swenson. 2013. Determinants of lifetime reproduction in female brown bears: early body mass, longevity, and hunting regulations. Ecology, 94: 231-240.
Martin, J.G.A. and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2010. Bighorn ewes transfer
the costs of reproduction to their lambs. American Naturalist, 176:
Rughetti, M., and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2010. Compensatory growth
limits opportunities for artificial selection in Alpine chamois.
Journal of Wildlife Management, 74: 1024-1029.
Mainguy, J., S.D. Côté, M. Festa-Bianchet and D.W.
Coltman. 2009. Father-offspring phenotypic correlations suggest
intralocus sexual conflict for a fitness-linked trait in a wild
sexually dimorphic mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B,
Available from Amazon
Larose, M.Sc. Social organization of Alpine chamois.
Gagné-Delorme, M.Sc. Social networks in bighorn
ewes. Holding a lamb at Ram Mountain in June 2012.
Le Gall-Payne, M.Sc. Adaptive offspring sex ratio in
eastern grey kangaroos.
With pouch young #491, daughter of #205, in late August 2012. #491 was a young-at-foot, permanently out of the pouch, in March 2013. The critical season for juvenile survival is the austral winter, from June to September.
Morin, M.Sc. Reproductive strategies of female
chamois. Here she is with a recently captured yearling female, in
the Alpi Marittime Natural Park in southern
MacKay, Ph.D. Causes and consequences of variability in
birthdate in eastern grey kangaroos. She is checking out pouch
young #580, about 11 weeks old in March 2013. At this
stage, pouch young are permanently attached to a teat. They can
be safely measured and quickly returned to the pouch. The
mother, #403, was first caught in August 2011
Martin, Ph.D. Reproductive strategies of bighorn
rams. Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier, Université de
Here he is at Ram Mountain in September 2009.
Reproductive success of female Eastern grey kangaroo. Co-supervised with Graeme Coulson, University of Melbourne.
With male pouch young #117 at the Wilsons Promontory in August 2009. At 4.7 kg, #117 weighed 17% as much as his mother (#30, first caught in August 2008). A few days later he started to leave the pouch. Unfortunately, he was killed by a vehicle in January 2011.
Population ecology of bighorn sheep, co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier.
Here he is holding ram N2, a 5-year-old in June 2013. This is the same sheep that Elise Rioux-Paquette held as a lamb 5 years earlier. N2 was a lot easier to handle as a lamb than as a mature ram!
Male reproductive success in eastern grey kangaroos.
The roo (male 262) weighed 53 kg when Elise recaptured him
in January 2011, the same as when he was first caught in September 2010, and 2 kg less than when we recaptured him a year later. By Septembr 2012, he'd dropped to 52.5 kg. He fathered at least 5 young between 2008 and 2011.
|Here is team 2013 at Ram
Mountain: Audrey, Gabriel et Simon, with ram N11. We had to
shovel a lot of snow in May so that we could see the entrance to the
|Interested in graduate studies under my supervision? look here|
Past Chair (2002-2006) of COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and past Co-Chair of its Terrestrial Mammals Subcommittee (1998-2008). Chair of the IUCN Caprinae specialist group.
|Eastern grey kangaroos at the
Wilsons Promontory, February 2011.
# 236 (green collar) and # 253
(red collar) are adult females, both nursing young-at-foot as of March
2013. Both also appear to not have a new pouch young in 2013.
# 28 (White-Red ear tags) is a
young male, first tagged in his mother's pouch in August 2008.
Behind him is # 206 (white-pink), a 2-year-old female. Both roos
were still residents as of March 2013.
The study population has a very
high density, 4-6/Ha. We are currently monitoring about 260
marked roos at this site.
update: April 21, 2013
Visits since September 8, 2008:
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