Scientists from the University of Nevada, Reno published a study in a recent issue of Behavioral Ecology about the relationships of black brant, also known as Pacific Brent Geese. The study, led by researchers Jim Sedinger and Chris Nicolai, found that the lifespan of female brants was significantly reduced after the loss of a mate. The team studied more than 2,000 birds, and is part of a longitudinal study on brant.

“Mate loss increases the vulnerability of females to harvest and natural mortality because females need protection by males during feeding, nesting, and migration,” said Nicolai in a statement. “It may take an especially fit female to survive mate loss, re-pair with a new mate, and continue reproducing in the future.”

The findings may help scientists evaluate other bird species for similar patterns. According to the university, “The study is the first to characterize health effects of mate loss to female geese, and its conclusions have implications for wildlife population management.”

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