MARCO FESTA-BIANCHET, Full Professor
E-mail : M.Festa@USherbrooke.ca
Telephone : (819) 821-8000 ext 62061
Fax : (819) 821-8049
Twitter: @roosAndHooves @festa_bianchet
||Ram Mountain, early June 2008. The
ewes (E13, 9 years old with yellow T collar, and J5,
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 2009-2014, none of J5's 6
lambs survived to 1 year of age. Not the best mother.
Her daughters U12 and V16, born in 2015 and 2016,
however, survived to 2017!
|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 1100 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 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:
M. Douhard, J.M. Gaillard and F. Pelletier.
2017. Successes and challenges of long-term field studies of
Journal of Mammalogy, 98: 612-620.
Festa-Bianchet, M., M. Douhard, J.M. Gaillard and F. Pelletier. 2017. Successes and challenges of long-term field studies of marked ungulates. Journal of Mammalogy, 98: 612-620.Festa-Bianchet, M. 2017. When does selective hunting select, how can we tell and what should we do about it? Mammal Review, 47: 76-81.
Festa-Bianchet and F. Pelletier.
Long-term fitness consequences of early-life environment in a
ungulate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284: 20170222.
Pigeon, G., M. Festa-Bianchet and F. Pelletier. 2017. Long-term fitness consequences of early-life environment in a long-lived ungulate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284: 20170222.Janeiro, M.J., M. Festa-Bianchet, F. Pelletier, D.W. Coltman and M.B. Morissey. 2017. Towards robust evolutionary inferences with Integral Projection Models. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30: 270-288.
Kuparinen, A. and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2017. Harvest-induced evolution: insights from aquatic and terrestrial systems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 372: 20160036 .
Gélin, U., M.E. Wilson, J. Cripps, G.C. Coulson and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2016. Individual heterogeneity and offspring sex affect the growth-reproduction trade-off in a mammal with indeterminate growth. Oecologia, 180: 1127-1135.Douhard, M., M. Festa-Bianchet, D.W. Coltman and F. Pelletier. 2016. Paternal reproductive success drives sex allocation in a wild mammal. Evolution, 70: 358-368
Available from Amazon
|Benjamin Larue, M.Sc. Horn growth and fitness in bighorn sheep ewes. Ewe U21 is 2 years old and nulliparous. Despite a very late birth, in early July 2015, she seems to be doing well.|
Douhard, postdoc, co-supervised with Fanie
Pelletier. Ungulate ecology, evolution and
conservation. September 2015 snowstorm at Ram
Mountain. Ewe R12 was 3 years old, 72 kg and nulliparous.
Her first son, V14, in 2016, survived his first winter.
King, Research Associate: behavioral ecology of
kangaroos. Female pouch young 24 emigrated as a
Vuillaume, Ph.D., Université Laval, co-supervised with
Steeve Côté. Survival in migratory caribou. Here
attaching a video collar to a female from the
Poirier, M.Sc. Genetic and demographic rescue of a
population of bighorn sheep. Here is with 4-year-old ram Q4
in early June 2015.
Blais, M.Sc. Maternal effects in bighorn sheep. Ewe
U5 is 3 yrs old and was transplanted in 2015 from Cadomin, about
130 km NW of Ram Mountain to help with demographic and genetic
Montana, Ph.D. co-supervised with Dany Garant. Sexual
selection in kangaroos. Male 450 was 56 kg on Nov 28 2015.
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. In late July 2013, she gave up on #580: it disappeared
from her pouch. Female #403 did the same in 2014, her pouch
young disappeared in late August.
|Limoilou Renaud, Ph.D., co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier. Maternal effects in bighorn sheep. Female lamb T2, daughter of M15, had her first lamb, W10, in 2017 as a 3-year-old.|
Toni, Ph.D. Reproductive strategies of female kangaroos.
She caught and tagged female 967, 26 Kg and her daughter 968, 3 Kg
on September 20, 2016. Roo968 was a young-at-foot, permanently out
of the pouch, in March 2017
|Team 2015 at Ram Mountain:
Simon, Marc-Antoine and Limoilou, with ram M23, 8 yrs
old. In 2013, we had to shovel a lot of snow in May to see
the entrance to the trap!
|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
group from 1990 to 2016.
|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. Neither had a new pouch young in 2013 and
253 died in August.
# 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 November
The study population has a
very high density, 3-6/Ha. We are currently monitoring
about 230 marked roos at this site.
update: June 14, 2017
Visits since September 8, 2008:
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