MARCO FESTA-BIANCHET, Full Professor
E-mail : M.Festa@USherbrooke.ca
Telephone : (819) 821-8000 ext 63069
Fax : (819) 821-8049
||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,
survived to 2017. Both disappeared the following winter.
|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:
Hamel, S. J.M. Gaillard, M. Festa-Bianchet, J.F. Lemaître, M. Pellerin, F. Pelletier, D. Nussey and N. Yoccoz. 2020. Allocation to early growth reduces late-life survival in the wild. Nature Communications, in press
Toni, P., D. Forsyth and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2020. Forage availability and maternal characteristics affect costs of reproduction in a large marsupial. Oecologia, 193: 97-107.
F. Rousseu, D. Garant and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2020. Siring success in
kangaroos : size matters, but only for those in the right place at
the right time. Behavioral Ecology, 31: 750-760.
M. Festa-Bianchet and F. Pelletier.
2020. Sons accelerate maternal aging in a wild mammal. Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences of the US, 117: 4850-4857.
Y, M. Festa-Bianchet and F. Pelletier.
2020. Testing the importance of harvest refuges for phenotypic
rescue of trophy-harvested populations. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57:
M., S. Côté, S. Hamel and
F. Pelletier. Long-term
of bighorn sheep and mountain goats reveal fitness costs of
reproduction. Journal of Animal Ecology,
Douhard, M., M. Festa-Bianchet, S. Hamel, D. Nussey, S.D. Côté, J. Pemberton and F. Pelletier. 2019. Maternal longevity and offspring sex in wild ungulates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286: 20181968.
Festa-Bianchet, M. and A. Mysterud. 2018. Hunting and evolution: theory,
evidence, and unknowns. Journal of Mammalogy, 99: 1281-1292.
Douhard, M., S. Guillemette, M. Festa-Bianchet and F. Pelletier. 2018. Drivers and demographic consequences of seasonal mass changes in an alpine ungulate. Ecology, 99: 724-734.MacKay, A., D. M. Forsyth, G. Coulson and M. Festa-Bianchet. 2018. Maternal resource allocation adjusts to timing of parturition in an asynchronous breeder. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72: 7. 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.
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 .
Available from Amazon
|Benjamin Larue, Ph.D. Reproductive tactics in female mountain ungulates. Ewe U21 was 2 years old in 2017and nulliparous. She was born very late, in early July 2015. In 2018 she had a son X17, also late-born. She died overwinter.|
|Roxane Lassis, Ph.D. Effects of hunting and environment on ecological and evolutionary changes in horn size of harvested mountain sheep. Male lamb Y6 is the son of 5-year-old ewe U4 and was born in early June 2019. He disappeared during the following winter.|
|Chad Rice, M.Sc. Regional variation in age of primiparity and harvest selectivity in mountain goats.|
M.Sc. Population dynamics of eastern grey kangaroos.
Wish I had a picture of Rachel with a roo, but this year we could not go to Australia because of covid19!
So here she is with a tarantula
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
|Yanny Ritchot, M.Sc. Survival and reproduction of bighorn rams. Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier. Here helping Cédric St-Onge to measure heart rate of 3-yr-old ewe V6 while 2-year-old ewes W7 and W12 check out the scene.|
|Charly Plaisir, M.Sc. Growth and survival in young adult kangaroos. Male roo 713, tagged in 2014 is about 8-10 years old, but is not growing much. He was 37 Kg in August 2014 and 42.5 Kg in September 2019.|
Montana, Ph.D. co-supervised with Dany Garant. Sexual
selection in kangaroos. Male 450 was 56 kg on Nov 28 2015
and was last seen in December of that year.
Emmanuelle Marchand, M.Sc. Effects of age of parents and grand-parents on growth and life-history traits of bighorn sheep. Here with Q11, at 9 years of age the largest male on Ram Mountain in 2020
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. It has not been seen since.
|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, tagged in August 2010. #
253 weaned one son and died in August 2013 while # 236 weaned
one daughter and one son, then died in August 2015.
# 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 October
The study population has a
very high density, 3-6/Ha. We are currently monitoring
about 230 marked roos at this site.
update: November 19, 2020.
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