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Hemispheric-scale wind selection facilitates bar-tailed godwit circum-migration of the Pacific  

USGS Publications Warehouse

The annual 29?000 km long migration of the bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica baueri, around the Pacific Ocean traverses what is arguably the most complex and seasonally structured atmospheric setting on Earth. Faced with marked variation in wind regimes and storm conditions across oceanic migration corridors, individuals must make critical decisions about when and where to fly during nonstop flights of a week's duration or longer. At a minimum, their decisions will affect wind profitability and thus reduce energetic costs of migration; in the extreme, poor decisions or unpredictable weather events will risk survival. We used satellite telemetry to track the annual migration of 24 bar-tailed godwits and analysed their flight performance relative to wind conditions during three major migration legs between nonbreeding grounds in New Zealand and breeding grounds in Alaska. Because flight altitudes of birds en route were unknown, we modelled flight efficiency at six geopotential heights across each migratory segment. Birds selected departure dates when atmospheric conditions conferred the greatest wind assistance both at departure and throughout their flights. This behaviour suggests that there exists a cognitive mechanism, heretofore unknown among migratory birds, that allows godwits to assess changes in weather conditions that are linked (i.e. teleconnected) across widely separated atmospheric regions. Godwits also showed adaptive flexibility in their response not only to cues related to seasonal changes in macrometeorology, such as spatial shifting of storm tracks and temporal periods of cyclogenesis, but also to cues associated with stochastic events, especially at departure sites. Godwits showed limits to their response behaviours, however, especially relative to rapidly developing stochastic events while en route. We found that flight efficiency depended significantly upon altitude and hypothesize that godwits exhibit further adaptive flexibility by varying flight altitude en route to optimize flight efficiency.

Gill, Robert E.; Douglas, David C.; Handel, Colleen M.; Tibbitts, T. Lee; Hufford, Gary; Piersma, Theunis



Against the trend: increasing numbers of breeding Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa limosa on a German Wadden Sea island  

Microsoft Academic Search

Capsule The increase in population sizes over the last 30 years cannot be explained by reproductive success. Aims To establish whether the positive population trends are due to increasing and self-sustaining populations or to immigration. Methods We studied the population development of breeding lapwings from 1971 until 2005 and of godwits from 1977 until 2005 on Wangerooge, a German Wadden

Julia Schroeder; Mathias Heckroth; Thomas Clemens



Extreme endurance flights by landbirds crossing the Pacific Ocean: ecological corridor rather than barrier?  

Microsoft Academic Search

Mountain ranges, deserts, ice fields and oceans generally act as barriers to the movement of land- dependent animals, often profoundly shaping migration routes. We used satellite telemetry to track the southward flights of bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica baueri ), shorebirds whose breeding and non- breeding areas are separated by the vast central Pacific Ocean. Seven females with surgically implanted transmitters

Robert E. Gill Jr; T. Lee Tibbitts; David C. Douglas; Colleen M. Handel; Daniel M. Mulcahy; Jon C. Gottschalck; Nils Warnock; Brian J. McCaffery; Philip F. Battley; Theunis Piersma



Metabolic profile of long-distance migratory flight and stopover in a shorebird.  


Migrating birds often complete long non-stop flights during which body energy stores exclusively support energetic demands. The metabolic correlates of such long-distance travel in free-living migrants are as yet poorly studied. Bar-tailed godwits, Limosa lapponica taymyrensis, undertake a 4500 km flight to their single spring stopover site and thus provide an excellent model in which to determine the energy fuels associated with endurance travel. To this end, we evaluated plasma concentrations of six key metabolites in arriving godwits caught immediately upon landing near their stopover site. Initial metabolite levels were compared with levels after 5 h of inactive rest to determine how flight per se affects energy metabolism. Birds refuelling on the stopover site were also examined. Arriving godwits displayed elevated plasma free fatty acids, glycerol and butyrate, confirming the importance of lipid fuel in the support of extended migratory activity. Further-more, elevated plasma triglycerides in these birds suggest that fatty acid provisioning is facilitated through hepatic synthesis and release of neutral lipids, as previously hypothesized for small migrants with high mass-specific metabolic rates. Finally, elevations in plasma uric acid suggest that protein breakdown contributes to the support of long-distance movement, to possibly maintain citric acid cycle intermediates, gluconeogenesis and/or water balance. PMID:15705555

Landys, Meta M; Piersma, Theunis; Guglielmo, Christopher G; Jukema, Joop; Ramenofsky, Marilyn; Wingfield, John C



Metabolic profile of long-distance migratory flight and stopover in a shorebird  

PubMed Central

Migrating birds often complete long non-stop flights during which body energy stores exclusively support energetic demands. The metabolic correlates of such long-distance travel in free-living migrants are as yet poorly studied. Bar-tailed godwits, Limosa lapponica taymyrensis, undertake a 4500 km flight to their single spring stopover site and thus provide an excellent model in which to determine the energy fuels associated with endurance travel. To this end, we evaluated plasma concentrations of six key metabolites in arriving godwits caught immediately upon landing near their stopover site. Initial metabolite levels were compared with levels after 5 h of inactive rest to determine how flight per se affects energy metabolism. Birds refuelling on the stopover site were also examined. Arriving godwits displayed elevated plasma free fatty acids, glycerol and butyrate, confirming the importance of lipid fuel in the support of extended migratory activity. Furthermore, elevated plasma triglycerides in these birds suggest that fatty acid provisioning is facilitated through hepatic synthesis and release of neutral lipids, as previously hypothesized for small migrants with high mass-specific metabolic rates. Finally, elevations in plasma uric acid suggest that protein breakdown contributes to the support of long-distance movement, to possibly maintain citric acid cycle intermediates, gluconeogenesis and/or water balance.

Landys, Meta M.; Piersma, Theunis; Guglielmo, Christopher G.; Jukema, Joop; Ramenofsky, Marilyn; Wingfield, John C.



Meadow bird ecology at different spatial scales : responses to environmental conditions and implications for management  

Microsoft Academic Search

Dutch wet grasslands host high densities of meadow birds. Especially striking are the huge numbers of breeding wading birds. Half of Europe’s black-tailed godwits Limosa limosa<\\/i> and one third of the oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus<\\/i> breed in the Netherlands. However, since the second half of the 20th<\\/sup> century, increases in farming intensity have resulted in the loss of heterogeneity at multiple

J. Verhulst



Spring-harvested game birds in the Western James Bay region of Northern Ontario, Canada: the amount of organochlorines in matched samples of breast muscle, skin, and abdominal fat  

Microsoft Academic Search

We examined matched-tissue samples (the right pectoral muscle plus the associated skin and fat was considered a breast portion)\\u000a of 81 spring-harvested waterfowl and 19 summer-harvested godwits (Limosa spp.) to assess the potential of these water birds contributing to the body burden of PCBs and DDT noted in First Nation\\u000a people of the western James Bay region, northern Ontario, Canada.

Leonard J. S. Tsuji; Ian D. Martin; Emily S. Martin; Alain LeBlanc; Pierre Dumas



Individual specialization in a shorebird population with narrow foraging niche  

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

Individual specialization in resource use is a widespread driver for intra-population trait variation, playing a crucial evolutionary role in free-living animals. We investigated the individual foraging specialization of Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa islandica) during the wintering period. Godwits displayed distinct degrees of individual specialization in diet and microhabitat use, indicating the presence of both generalist and specialist birds. Females were overall more specialist than males, primarily consuming polychaetes. Specialist males consumed mainly bivalves, but some individuals also specialized on gastropods or polychaetes. Sexual dimorphism in bill length is probably important in determining the differences in specialization, as longer-billed individuals have access to deep-buried polychaetes inaccessible to most males. Different levels of specialization within the same sex, unrelated to bill length, were also found, suggesting that mechanisms other traits are involved in explaining individual specialization. Godwits specialized on bivalves achieved higher intake rates than non-specialist birds, supporting the idea that individual foraging choices or skills result in different short-term payoffs within the same population. Understanding whether short-term payoffs are good indicators of long-term fitness and how selection operates to favour the prevalence of specialist or generalist godwits is a major future challenge.

Catry, Teresa; Alves, José A.; Gill, Jennifer A.; Gunnarsson, Tómas G.; Granadeiro, José P.



Seasonal matching of habitat quality and fitness in a migratory bird  

PubMed Central

When species occupy habitats that vary in quality, choice of habitat can be critical in determining individual fitness. In most migratory species, juveniles migrate independently of their parents and must therefore choose both breeding and winter habitats. Using a unique dataset of marked black-tailed godwits (Limosa limosa islandica) tracked throughout their migratory range, combined with analyses of stable carbon isotope ratios, we show that those individuals that occupy higher quality breeding sites also use higher quality winter sites. This seasonal matching can severely inflate inequalities in individual fitness. This population has expanded over the last century into poorer quality breeding and winter habitats and, across the whole population; individual birds tend to occupy either novel or traditional sites in both seasons. Winter and breeding season habitat selection are thus strongly linked throughout this population; these links have profound implications for a wide range of population and evolutionary processes. As adult godwits are highly philopatric, the initial choice of winter habitat by juveniles will be critical in determining future survival, timing of migration and breeding success.

Gunnarsson, Tomas Gretar; Gill, Jennifer A; Newton, Jason; Potts, Peter M; Sutherland, William J



Sex Promotes Spatial and Dietary Segregation in a Migratory Shorebird during the Non-Breeding Season  

PubMed Central

Several expressions of sexual segregation have been described in animals, especially in those exhibiting conspicuous dimorphism. Outside the breeding season, segregation has been mostly attributed to size or age-mediated dominance or to trophic niche divergence. Regardless of the recognized implications for population dynamics, the ecological causes and consequences of sexual segregation are still poorly understood. We investigate the foraging habits of a shorebird showing reversed sexual dimorphism, the black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa, during the winter season, and found extensive segregation between sexes in spatial distribution, microhabitat use and dietary composition. Males and females exhibited high site-fidelity but differed in their distributions at estuary-scale. Male godwits (shorter-billed) foraged more frequently in exposed mudflats than in patches with higher water levels, and consumed more bivalves and gastropods and fewer polychaetes than females. Females tended to be more frequently involved and to win more aggressive interactions than males. However, the number of aggressions recorded was low, suggesting that sexual dominance plays a lesser role in segregation, although its importance cannot be ruled out. Dimorphism in the feeding apparatus has been used to explain sex differences in foraging ecology and behaviour of many avian species, but few studies confirmed that morphologic characteristics drive individual differences within each sex. We found a relationship between resource use and bill size when pooling data from males and females. However, this relationship did not hold for either sex separately, suggesting that differences in foraging habits of godwits are primarily a function of sex, rather than bill size. Hence, the exact mechanisms through which this segregation operates are still unknown. The recorded differences in spatial distribution and resource use might expose male and female to distinct threats, thus affecting population dynamics through differential mortality. Therefore, population models and effective conservation strategies should increasingly take sex-specific requirements into consideration.

Catry, Teresa; Alves, Jose A.; Gill, Jennifer A.; Gunnarsson, Tomas G.; Granadeiro, Jose P.



[Temporal and spatial distribution of shorebirds (Charadriiformes) at San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California Sur, Mexico].  


Baja California Peninsula has several wetlands that represent important ecosystems for shorebirds. San Ignacio Lagoon is one of these sites, and supports 10% of the total abundance of shorebirds reported in this Peninsula. Since there is few information about this group in this area, we studied spatial and temporal changes in abundance and distribution of shorebirds in San Ignacio Lagoon. For this, we conducted twelve monthly censuses (October 2007-September 2008) on the entire internal perimeter of the lagoon, which we divided into four areas: two at the North and two at the South. We observed a seasonal pattern, with the lowest abundance in May (1 585 birds) and the highest in October (47 410). The most abundant species were Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa; 55% of the total records), Western Sandpipers (Calidris mauri; 23%), and Willet (Tringa semipalmata; 10%). All three species were more abundant in autumn; for both, the Marbled Godwit and Willet, we observed their highest numbers in winter and spring, while the Western Sandpiper showed noticeable oscillations, reaching a maximum in early winter (December). In summer, Marbled Godwit and Willet were the only birds present but in lower numbers. Here present the first records of the Pacific Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) in the area. Bird abundance and species richness were influenced seasonally by migration and spatially by sites in the lagoon. The greatest shorebird abundance was in the South area of the lagoon, probably because of better accessibility to food. Our results allowed the inclusion of San Ignacio Lagoon in the Western Hemisphere Shorebirds Reserve Network (WHSRN) as a site of international importance. PMID:23894976

Mendoza, Luis Francisco; Carmona, Roberto



An Exception to the Rule: Carry-Over Effects Do Not Accumulate in a Long-Distance Migratory Bird  

PubMed Central

Recent years have seen a growing consensus that events during one part of an animal's annual cycle can detrimentally affect its future fitness. Notably, migratory species have been shown to commonly display such carry-over effects, facing severe time constraints and physiological stresses that can influence events across seasons. However, to date, no study has examined a full annual cycle to determine when these carry-over effects arise and how long they persist within and across years. Understanding when carry-over effects are created and how they persist is critical to identifying those periods and geographic locations that constrain the annual cycle of a population and determining how selection is acting upon individuals throughout the entire year. Using three consecutive years of migration tracks and four consecutive years of breeding success data, we tested whether carry-over effects in the form of timing deviations during one migratory segment of the annual cycle represent fitness costs that persist or accumulate across the annual cycle for a long-distance migratory bird, the Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica. We found that individual godwits could migrate progressively later than population mean over the course of an entire migration period, especially southbound migration, but that these deviations did not accumulate across the entire year and were not consistently detected among individuals across years. Furthermore, neither the accumulation of lateness during previous portions of the annual cycle nor arrival date at the breeding grounds resulted in individuals suffering reductions in their breeding success or survival. Given their extreme life history, such a lack of carry-over effects suggests that strong selection exists on godwits at each stage of the annual cycle and that carry-over effects may not be able to persist in such a system, but also emphasizes that high-quality stopover and wintering sites are critical to the maintenance of long-distance migratory populations.

Senner, Nathan R.; Hochachka, Wesley M.; Fox, James W.; Afanasyev, Vsevolod



Rapid changes in phenotype distribution during range expansion in a migratory bird  

PubMed Central

The capacity of species to track changing environmental conditions is a key component of population and range changes in response to environmental change. High levels of local adaptation may constrain expansion into new locations, while the relative fitness of dispersing individuals will influence subsequent population growth. However, opportunities to explore such processes are rare, particularly at scales relevant to species-based conservation strategies. Icelandic black-tailed godwits, Limosa limosa islandica, have expanded their range throughout Iceland over the last century. We show that current male morphology varies strongly in relation to the timing of colonization across Iceland, with small males being absent from recently occupied areas. Smaller males are also proportionately more abundant on habitats and sites with higher breeding success and relative abundance of females. This population-wide spatial structuring of male morphology is most likely to result from female preferences for small males and better-quality habitats increasing both small-male fitness and the dispersal probability of larger males into poorer-quality habitats. Such eco-evolutionary feedbacks may be a key driver of rates of population growth and range expansion and contraction.

Gunnarsson, Tomas Gretar; Sutherland, William J.; Alves, Jose A.; Potts, Peter M.; Gill, Jennifer A.



Sex-biases in distribution and resource use at different spatial scales in a migratory shorebird  

PubMed Central

In migratory species, sexual size dimorphism can mean differing energetic requirements for males and females. Differences in the costs of migration and in the environmental conditions occurring throughout the range may therefore result in sex-biases in distribution and resource use at different spatial scales. In order to identify the scale at which sexual segregation operates, and thus the scale at which environmental changes may have sex-biased impacts, we use range-wide tracking of individually color-ringed Icelandic black-tailed godwits (Limosa limosa islandica) to quantify sexual segregation at scales ranging from the occupation of sites throughout the non-breeding range to within-site differences in distribution and resource use. Throughout the range of this migratory shorebird, there is no evidence of large-scale sex differences in distribution during the non-breeding season. However, the sexes differ in their selection of prey types and sizes, which results in small-scale sexual segregation within estuaries. The scale of sexual segregation therefore depends on the scale of variation in resource distribution, which, in this system, is primarily within estuaries. Sexual segregation in within-site distribution and resource use means that local-scale anthropogenic impacts on estuarine benthic prey communities may disproportionately affect the sexes in these migratory shorebirds.

Alves, Jose A; Gunnarsson, Tomas G; Potts, Peter M; Sutherland, William J; Gill, Jennifer A



Variation in numbers and behaviour of waders during the tidal cycle: implications for the use of estuarine sediment flats  

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

Estuarine sediment flats are essential feeding areas for waders, but their exploitation is constrained by the movements of tides. In this cyclic environment the exposure period of sediment flats decreases several fold from upper to lower flats, and the moving tidal waterline briefly creates particular conditions for waders and their prey. This study attempts to determine how the exposure period and the movement of the tide line influence the use of space and food resources by waders across the sediment flats. Wader counts and observations of feeding behaviour were carried out in all phases of the tidal cycle, in plots forming a transect from upper to lower flats, thus representing a gradient of exposure periods. Pecking, prey intake, and success rates varied little along the gradient. Some species actively followed the tide line while foraging, whereas others are evenly spread over the exposed flats. Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Avocet were 'tide followers', whereas Grey Plover, Redshank and Bar-tailed Godwit were 'non-followers'. Densities of 'followers' near the tide line were up to five times higher than elsewhere. Species differed markedly in the way they used space on the flats, but in general the rate of biomass acquisition (in grams of ash-free dry weight per time exposed) was much higher in lower flats. However, this preference was insufficient to counter the much longer exposure of the upper flats, so the total amount of biomass consumed on the latter was greater. Therefore, it was in these upper flats that waders fulfilled most of their energetic needs. Consequently, upper flats are of particular importance for the conservation of wader assemblages, but because they are usually closer to shore they tend to suffer the highest pressure from disturbance and land reclamation.

Granadeiro, José P.; Dias, Maria P.; Martins, Ricardo C.; Palmeirim, Jorge M.



Spring-harvested game birds in the Western James Bay region of Northern Ontario, Canada: the amount of organochlorines in matched samples of breast muscle, skin, and abdominal fat.  


We examined matched-tissue samples (the right pectoral muscle plus the associated skin and fat was considered a breast portion) of 81 spring-harvested waterfowl and 19 summer-harvested godwits (Limosa spp.) to assess the potential of these water birds contributing to the body burden of PCBs and DDT noted in First Nation people of the western James Bay region, northern Ontario, Canada. In general, the dabbling ducks (mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos; and northern pintail, A. acuta) had significantly lower percent lipid (gravimetrically determined) values in skin tissue, fat tissue, and breast muscle compared to the goose species (Canada goose, Branta canadensis; lesser snow goose, Chen caerulescens); godwits had percent lipid values not significantly different than ducks and geese. Also, the percent lipid values in skin for all species of birds examined approached those found in fat tissue. Organochlorine data were expressed as the amount (microg) of each contaminant per breast portion to show contaminant consumption in terms of typical and easily recognizable dietary portions; direct comparisons were made to acceptable daily intake (ADI) or tolerable daily intake (TDI) values as recommended by Health Canada. Significant differences in the amount of organochlorines between bird species for skin, fat tissue, and breast muscle samples were found. In general, breast portions from snow geese contained the least amount of organochlorines, followed by godwits (except for mirex) and then Canada geese; the dabbling ducks had the greatest amount of organochlorines on a breast portion basis. However, on average, no 60 kg person would exceed the calculated organochlorine ADI/TDI values consuming one breast portion (i.e., breast + associated skin and fat), but the maximum value of SigmaPCBs for skin tissue alone in male mallards (47 microg) was more than twice the ADI/TDI (18 microg/day); while, that in fat tissue alone (17 microg) approached the ADI/TDI. Thus, the consumption of dabbling ducks by children is an issue that should be explored further, if tissue other than breast muscle is eaten. Lastly, the consumption of waterfowl was a source of PCBs for people of Fort Albany and Kashechewan, but not DDT, as this organochlorine was infrequently detected. PMID:18058032

Tsuji, Leonard J S; Martin, Ian D; Martin, Emily S; LeBlanc, Alain; Dumas, Pierre



Abdominally implanted satellite transmitters affect reproduction and survival rather than migration of large shorebirds  

USGS Publications Warehouse

Satellite telemetry has become a common technique to investigate avian life-histories, but whether such tagging will affect fitness is a critical unknown. In this study, we evaluate multi-year effects of implanted transmitters on migratory timing and reproductive performance in shorebirds. Shorebirds increasingly are recognized as good models in ecology and evolution. That many of them are of conservation concern adds to the research responsibilities. In May 2009, we captured 56 female Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa limosa during late incubation in The Netherlands. Of these, 15 birds were equipped with 26-g satellite transmitters with a percutaneous antenna (7.8 % ± 0.2 SD of body mass), surgically implanted in the coelom. We compared immediate nest survival, timing of migration, subsequent nest site fidelity and reproductive behaviour including egg laying with those of the remaining birds, a comparison group of 41 females. We found no effects on immediate nest survival. Fledging success and subsequent southward and northward migration patterns of the implanted birds conformed to the expectations, and arrival time on the breeding grounds in 2010–2012 did not differ from the comparison group. Compared with the comparison group, in the year after implantation, implanted birds were equally faithful to the nest site and showed equal territorial behaviour, but a paucity of behaviours indicating nests or clutches. In the 3 years after implantation, the yearly apparent survival of implanted birds was 16 % points lower. Despite intense searching, we found only three eggs of two implanted birds; all were deformed. A similarly deformed egg was reported in a similarly implanted Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus returning to breed in central Alaska. The presence in the body cavity of an object slightly smaller than a normal egg may thus lead to egg malformation and, likely, reduced egg viability. That the use of implanted satellite transmitters in these large shorebirds reduced nesting propensity and might also lead to fertility losses argues against the use of implanted transmitters for studies on breeding biology, and for a careful evaluation of the methodology in studies of migration.

Hooijmeijer, Jos C. E. W.; Gill, Robert E., Jr.; Mulcahy, Daniel M.; Tibbitts, T. Lee; Kentie, Rosemarie; Gerritsen, Gerrit J.; Bruinzeel, Leo W.; Tijssen, David C.; Harwood, Christopher M.; Piersma, Theunis



Population identification of western hemisphere shorebirds throughout the annual cycle  

USGS Publications Warehouse

Identification of relationships among geographically distinct populations of migratory species can provide an understanding of breeding and natal philopatry, migration pathways, and population mixing during winter. We used random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analyses to search for markers specific to difficult-to-differentiate shorebird species (e.g. long-billed dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus and short-billed dowitcher L. griseus) as well as geographically distinct breeding populations of Hudsonian godwits Limosa haemastica, red-necked phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus, semipalmated plovers Charadrius semipalmatus, dunlin Calidris alpina, pectoral sandpipers C. melanotos, semipalmated sandpipers C. pusilla and western sandpipers C. mauri. Markers clearly differentiated all shorebird species. Estimates of population differentiation varied greatly among species (FST= 0.095a??0.685) and correlated with interspecific variation in philopatry and geographical separation of breeding populations. We assigned individuals to putative breeding locales with greater certainty in well-differentiated species than in poorly differentiated species. Our findings indicate specific phylogeographical structure varies among species, which has strong implications for conservation of habitats within migratory corridors. We suggest that RAPDs are useful in identifying geographical populations of migratory species and that molecular markers should be considered for tracking migratory birds throughout the annual cycle.

Haig, Susan M.; Gratto-Trevor, C. L.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Colwell, M. A.



Shorebird use of an exposed sandy beach in southern California  

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

Frequent morning surveys of birds were conducted on 1 km of beach in southern California to investigate shorebird use of an exposed sandy beach. The overall mean abundance (98.6 individuals km -1), estimated biomass (9.6 kg km -1), and species richness (5.5 species km -1) of shorebirds observed were very high for a sandy beach in the temperate zone. Eight species, sanderling ( Calidris alba), semipalmated plover ( Charadrius semipalmatus), marbled godwit ( Limosa fedoa), black-bellied plover ( Pluvialis squatarola), western sandpiper ( Calidris mauri), willet ( Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), surfbird ( Aphriza virgata), and whimbrel ( Numenius phaeopus), occurred in overall mean abundances >1 bird km -1 and accounted for 97% of the abundance and biomass of shorebirds. Sanderlings were the most abundant shorebird every year (64% of individuals and 35% of the biomass). Different species of abundant shorebirds exhibited distinct patterns of use of beach habitat, including fall, spring, and winter peaks in abundance. Temporal variation in shorebird use on seasonal and interannual scales was associated with migration patterns, and also with habitat availability and condition. Seasonal variation in monthly mean abundance and estimated biomass of shorebirds varied over more than an order of magnitude and followed a similar pattern in each year, reaching maxima in the fall or winter (161-280 individuals km -1 and 15.4-23.9 kg km -1) and minima in May or June (3-11 individuals km -1 and 0.8-2.2 kg km -1). A minor peak in shorebird abundance and biomass coinciding with spring migration was observed in April of most years. The number of species of shorebirds observed in individual surveys ranged from 0 to 11 species km -1 and was positively and significantly correlated with abundance. Monthly mean species richness and the total species observed monthly followed similar seasonal patterns, ranging from annual maxima of 7.4-9.1 and 12-17 species km -1 between August and October to minima of 0.8-2.1 and 2-8 species km -1, respectively, during June. In contrast, species turnover was lowest (1.1-1.7) in October and November, and generally highest (2-4) during early summer (June). The amount of sandy intertidal habitat available to shorebirds on the transect was estimated using sand elevations and predicted tide heights. In the fall and winter, the abundance of shorebirds was significantly and positively correlated with tide height, possibly reflecting feeding opportunities and high tide refuge effects during the highest tides. In the spring when sand levels were low, the abundance of shorebirds was negatively correlated with tide height. Prey availability, beach condition and the local availability, and condition of alternative foraging habitats may influence those relationships. Interannual variations in shorebird use and beach condition were observed in the course of the study. During an El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event (1997-1998), the extent of sandy habitat was greatly reduced and intertidal habitat was mostly converted to rocky substrate. The overall abundance of shorebirds and the mean abundance of some common species (e.g. sanderling) were depressed, and an uncommon species (surfbird, A. virgata) was unusually abundant during the ENSO event. In summary, the results suggest that sandy beaches are important habitat for many species of shorebirds, particularly in areas where alternative coastal foraging habitats, such as coastal wetlands, have become scarce. Understanding the dynamics of and threats to exposed sandy beaches may be increasingly important for shorebird conservation in many coastal regions.

Hubbard, David M.; Dugan, Jenifer E.



Kineosphaera nakaumiensis sp. nov., a novel actinobacterial species of the genus Kineosphaera isolated from sediments in Lake Nakaumi.  


A novel actinobacterial strain, designated YM16-381(T), was isolated from sediments of Lake Nakaumi in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. The cell of the strain was motile, non-spore-forming and Gram-positive. The colony was gray-pink and circular on marine agar 2216 medium. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that the strain belongs to the family Dermatophilaceae of the suborder Micrococcineae. The highest sequence similarity value of the isolate was 96.2% against Kineosphaera limosa. The diaminopimelic acid in the cell wall was meso-A2pm. The major menaquinone was MK-8(H4). The DNA G+C contents were 70.5 mol%. The major cellular fatty acids were C17:1?8c, C16:0, C15:0 and C18:1?9c. The major polar lipids were phosphatidylglycerol, diphosphatidylglycerol and ninhydrin-positive phosphoglycolipid. On the basis of polyphasic taxonomic studies, strain YM16-381(T) represents a novel species of the genus Kineosphaera within the family Dermatophilaceae, for which the name Kineosphaera nakaumiensis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is YM16-381(T) (=KCTC 29138(T)=NBRC 109121(T)). PMID:23518516

Yamada, Chihaya; Matsuo, Yoshihide; Kasai, Hiroaki; Yokota, Akira; Yoon, Jaewoo



Goals and objectives  

USGS Publications Warehouse

We report results from shorebird surveys in the North American Arctic, defined here as Bird Conservation Regions 2 and 3 of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative ( The surveys estimate population size and trend, and provide information on habitat relationships, at the regional and Arctic-wide scale (Table 1, Fig 1). Of the 53 species of shorebirds that breed in the United States and Canada, 26 (47%) breed in the arctic in sufficient numbers that arctic surveys are an important part of monitoring programs for them (Brown et al. 2001, Donaldson et al. 2000; Table 1). Arctic-breeding shorebirds are a diverse group that exhibits a wide range of migration, reproductive, and wintering strategies (Table 1.1). Some species migrate a short distance to the northern United States and southern Canada (e.g. Purple Sandpiper; for scientific names, see Appendix D), while others undertake epic migrations to West Africa (e.g. Red Phalarope) or southern South America (e.g. Hudsonian Godwit, Red Knot). Some migrate in huge flocks, while others trickle south singly or in small groups. There are monogamous, polygamous, and polyandrous breeders, and most habitats in the Arctic provide nesting opportunities for shorebird species. Despite their different life history characteristics, all Arctic shorebird species share two traits: 1) they are all are migrants (none inhabit the Arctic year-round) and 2) because of their migratory behavior, all are exposed to anthropogenic hazards at some point(s) in their life cycle.

Bart, Jonathan; Johnston, Victoria



[Temporal and spatial variation of shorebirds in Barra de Navidad lagoon, Jalisco, during three non-breeding seasons].  


Resident and migratory shorebirds inhabit different kinds of wetlands such as lagoons, rivers and seashores among others. In recent years, these areas have been importantly affected by urban, agriculture and touristic activities, such as the Barra de Navidad lagoon, for which little information is available to support conservation programs. The aim of this work was to describe shorebirds temporal and spatial distribution in Barra de Navidad lagoon during three non-breeding seasons (1999-2000, 2006-2007 and 2008-2009). For this, monthly censuses were performed from November-April with the purpose of registering all the shorebirds species. We were able to identify 19 shorebirds species (three residents and 16 winter visitors), of which Charadrius wilsonia, Limosa fedoa and Tringa semipalmata were the most abundant. The greater number of species was registered for November, December and March of the first and third seasons. The greater number of individuals was registered when birds were feeding during low tides, mainly in December, January and February of the first and third seasons. At low tide, there was a great number of species and individuals in zone C. This area had muddy substrates that were exposed during low tides and were used to feed. Barra de Navidad lagoon provided suitable habitats for feeding and resting for resident and migratory birds. Twelve of the 19 species were considered as priority within the Mexican bird conservation strategy. However, these habitats are threatened by human activities performed in the nearby areas of the lagoon that may have negative consequences for the distribution, abundance and conservation of these species. PMID:23025100

Hernández, Salvador; Serrano, Sergio; Hernández, Xóchitl A; Robles, María Isabel



Constructing a Baseline Model of Alpine Wetlands of the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA  

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

Alpine wetlands of the Uinta Mountains, northeastern Utah, contain a variety of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. Unlike their counterparts in other areas of the Rocky Mountains, these systems have been relatively unstudied. The Reader Lakes area on the southern slope of the range was selected for detailed study because of its variety of wetland plant communities, homogenous bedrock geology, and minimal human impact. The primary goal of this interdisciplinary study is to establish the functional links between the geomorphology and hydrogeology of these high mountain wetlands and their constituent plant communities. In addition to traditional field studies and water chemistry, geospatial technologies are being used to organize and analyze both field data (water chemistry and wetland vegetation) and archived multispectral imagery (2006 NAIP images). The hydrology of these wetlands is dominated by groundwater discharge and their surface is dominated by string-and-flark morphology of various spatial scales, making these montane wetlands classic patterned fens. The drainage basin is organized into a series of large-scale stair-stepping wetlands, bounded by glacial moraines at their lower end. Wetlands are compartmentalized by a series of large strings (roughly perpendicular to the axial stream) and flarks. This pattern may be related to small ridges on the underlying ground moraine and possibly modified by beaver activity along the axial stream. Small-scale patterning occurs along the margins of the wetlands and in sloping-fen settings. The smaller-scale strings and flarks form a complex; self-regulating system in which water retention is enhanced and surface flow is minimized. Major plant communities have been identified within the wetlands for example: a Salix planifolia community associated with the peaty strings; Carex aquatilis, Carex limosa, and Eriophorum angustifolium communities associated with flarks; as well as a Sphagnum sp.- rich hummocky transition zone between wetland and non-wetland areas. On-going analyses of water-chemistry data will be used to identify discrete water sources and to characterize the degree of horizontal and vertical water mixing within the system, as well as to help identify the biochemical requirements of the different plant communities. Results indicate that the chemical composition of the main creek reflects the accumulative effect that the peaty flarks have on the creek as it passes through the wetland system, with pH overall decreasing from 7.3 to 7.0, dissolved oxygen decreasing from 9400 to 8400 micrograms per liter and total dissolved solids increasing from 9 mg/L to 13 mg/L. String ground water is characterized by relatively high pH (ranging from 6.0 to 7.1), high oxidizing-reducing potential (ORP) (ranging from 50 mV to 180 mV), high dissolved oxygen (from 2500 ?g/L to 9600 ?g /L) while flark ground water has relatively lower pH (5.6 to 6.8), low oxidizing reducing potential (ORP) (ranging from -66 mV to 150 mV), low dissolved oxygen (from 900 ?g /L to 9000 ?g /L).

Matyjasik, M.; Ford, R. L.; Bartholomew, L. M.; Welsh, S. B.; Hernandez, M.; Koerner, D.; Muir, M.