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Advancing the conservation and scientific understanding of migratory animals

Description

Given the rapid advancement of technology and migratory connectivity data, the Migratory Connectivity Project was created to facilitate development of new technologies and serve as a portal for gathering and disseminating information. Our ultimate goal is to advance the conservation and understanding of animals throughout their full life cycle by promoting the science of migratory connectivity.

Project objectives
1) Link populations by promoting the study of migratory connectivity and full-life cycle biology at multiple temporal and spatial scales
2) Advance science by encouraging the development and use of the technology used to track animals
3) Protect species by working with governmental and non-governmental partners to integrate full-life cycle biology into conservation planning processes
4) Connect people across cultures by educating local and international communities about the migratory animals that they share

latest article added on August 2013

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
Range-Wide Piping Plover Survival: Correlated Patterns and Temporal Declines.Roche, Erin A.2010

Range-Wide Piping Plover Survival: Correlated Patterns and Temporal Declines.

Keywords

apparent survival;Charadrius melodus;conservation;cross-seasonal effects;piping plover;population biology;Program MARK;shorebird

Abstract

Geographically isolated breeding populations of migratory shorebirds may be demographically connected through shared nonbreeding habitats. We used long-term (1998-2008) mark-recapture data on piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) collected from 7 separate studies located throughout North America to conduct a range-wide analysis of after hatch year apparent survival (?AHY). Our objectives were to compare concurrent survival estimates from disparate breeding sites and determine whether estimates followed similar trends or were correlated among breeding populations with shared wintering grounds. Average survival estimates were higher for Great Plains populations (range = 0.69-0.81) than for Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast populations (range = 0.56-0.71). Linear trend models indicated that apparent survival declined in 4 out of 7 populations, was unchanged in 3, and was generally highest among Great Plains populations. Based on a post hoc analysis, we found evidence of correlated year-to-year fluctuations in annual survival among populations wintering primarily along the southeastern United States Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast. Our results indicate shared overwintering or stopover sites may influence annual variation in survival among geographically disparate breeding populations. Declines in piping plover survival are a cause for concern, and our results highlight the need for conservation efforts to include habitat used during the migratory and wintering periods.

Authors

Roche, Erin A., Jonathan B. Cohen, Daniel H. Catlin, Diane L. Amirault-Langlais, Francesca J. Cuthbert, Cheri L. Gratto-Trevor, Joy Felio and James D. Fraser.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-446

Stable isotopes (δD) delineate the origins and migratory connectivity of harvested animals: the case of European woodpigeons.Hobson, Keith A.2009

Stable isotopes (δD) delineate the origins and migratory connectivity of harvested animals: the case of European woodpigeons.

Keywords

deuterium;game-bird management;migratory connectivity;population structure;stable isotopes

Abstract

  1. Quantifying connectivity between breeding, stopover, and wintering locations is critical to the management and conservation of migratory animals. Mark-recapture approaches to establishing connectivity are limited due to marking location bias and poor recovery. Alternatively, endogenous markers like stable isotopes can augment extrinsic markers and help to overcome their limitations.
  2. We used a stable hydrogen isotope (δD) isoscape for Europe and δD analysis of feathers from harvested woodpigeons Columba palumbus in France, the Iberian Peninsula, and Corsica to estimate their natal origins.
  3. We propagated error associated with the relationship between deuterium in feathers (δDf) and mean growing-season precipitation (δDp) for woodpigeons in Europe. For every δDf value, we estimated a range of possible δDp values and used this to map the probability of origin.
  4. We estimated that ~50% of the woodpigeon harvest in France was comprised of residents or from nearby countries to the east. About 30% of the take were medium-distance migrants, and about 10% were long-distance migrants from Scandinavia, northwest Russia and the Baltic. A greater proportion of the long-distance migrants were taken in Spain. In Corsica, birds primarily originated from northern Italy to the Ukraine.
  5. The proportion of northern migrants harvested decreased with latitude, suggesting a leapfrog migration pattern. Birds harvested at lower latitudes showed an inverse relationship between wing length and δDf, which suggested that longer-distance migrants had longer wings.
  6. Synthesis and applications. This is the first application of stable isotope methodology to quantify population structure and migratory connectivity for a European game species. In addition, we used statistical approaches accounting for potential geospatial assignment errors. Most of the French woodpigeons harvested are resident birds, which suggests that local management of the hunt in France may be most effective. However, southwestern France appeared to take a somewhat greater proportion of migrant woodpigeons, and thus, conservation and management of woodpigeons in France should recognize regional differences. Our approach provided a methodological template that can be applied to questions of migratory connectivity for numerous species of game and non-game migrant birds.

Authors

Hobson, Keith A.,Lormée, Hervé,Van Wilgenburg, Steven L.,Wassenaar, Leonard I.,Boutin, Jean Marie

Year Published

2009

Publication

Journal of Applied Ecology

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01651.x

Connecting seas: western Palaearctic continental flyway for water birds in the perspective of changing land use and climate.Van Eerden, Mennobart R.2005

Connecting seas: western Palaearctic continental flyway for water birds in the perspective of changing land use and climate.

Keywords

barnacle goose;carrying capacity;dark-bellied brent;fertilizer use;improved grassland;plant phenology;salt marshes

Abstract

The western Palaearctic continental flyway that connects the tundra and taiga belts of Russia with north-west Europe is the major migratory avenue for an estimated 9.3 million herbivorous water birds (swans, geese and ducks). Agricultural practices together with protection measures subsidize the carrying capacity of winter habitats of the birds. Densities of these birds are highest in the Netherlands, where nitrogen (N) inputs to farmland have increased during the last 70 years and became the highest in Europe (>250 kg manure and fertilizer ha-;1 yr-;1). A comparison of population trends of 13 species of avian herbivores reveals generally expanding populations in the past 50 years, with the greatest increases from 1970 to 1990. Populations of the smallest avian herbivores, such as ducks, are either stable or have peaked and are now in decline, whereas numbers of larger herbivores (geese and swans) continue to increase and barnacle and greylag geese now breed in the Netherlands, in addition to northern sites.

Authors

Van Eerden, Mennobart R.,Drent, Rudolf H.,Stahl, Julia,Bakker, Jan P.

Year Published

2005

Publication

Global Change Biology

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.00940.x

Feather deuterium measurements reveal origins of migratory western loggerhead shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides) wintering in MexicoPerez, Guillermo E.2007

Feather deuterium measurements reveal origins of migratory western loggerhead shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides) wintering in Mexico

Keywords

deuterium; loggerhead shrikes; migratory connectivity; stable isotopes

Abstract

Understanding the winter distributions of migrant birds is important because productivity and recruitment are influenced by conditions at several locations and periods in the life cycle of individuals. The western loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides, is a threatened species in Canada, and its decline is attributed to potential limitations on the wintering grounds. We examined patterns of stable-hydrogen isotope (delta D) distributions in feathers of loggerhead shrikes, primarily of L. l. excubitorides, during winter at three regions in north and central Mexico, to establish relative abundance and origins of migrants. We also investigated potential movements of Mexican winter resident individuals. Using shrike museum specimens of known summer provenance, a shrike deuterium base map for Mexico was developed from isotopic measurement of feathers of resident shrikes and use of a recently established feather base map for raptors in North America. Stable hydrogen isotope analyses of inner secondary feather (s9) of all loggerhead shrikes examined in Mexico during winter indicated that north-central (Region A), north-eastern (Region B) and south-central (Region C) sites in Mexico consisted of 28.1%, 73.7% and 63.8% of migrant individuals from northern breeding grounds, respectively. Isotopic evidence suggested movements of a few local residents birds (7.9%) into the Chihuahuan desert from south-western USA and north-eastern Mexico to winter.

Authors

Perez, Guillermo E.; Hobson, Keith A.

Year Published

2007

Publication

Diversity And Distributions

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1472-4642.2006.00306.x

Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus migration links the USA and Canada: a biological basis for international prairie conservationTack, Jason D.2012

Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus migration links the USA and Canada: a biological basis for international prairie conservation

Keywords

Keywords Canada, Centrocercus urophasianus, greatersage-grouse, migration, Near Threatened species, prairie,transboundary conservation, USA

Abstract

Migratory pathways in North American prairies are critical for sustaining endemic biodiversity. Fragmentation and loss of habitat by an encroaching human footprint has extirpated and severely truncated formerly large movements by prairie wildlife populations. Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, a Near Threatened landscape species requiring vast tracts of intact sagebrush Artemisia spp., exhibit varied migratory strategies across their range in response to the spatial composition of available habitats. We unexpectedly documented the longest migratory event ever observed in sage-grouse (> 120 km one way) in 2007-2009 while studying demography of a population at the north-east edge of their range. Movements that encompassed 6,687 km(2) included individuals using distinct spring and summer ranges and then freely intermixing on the winter range in what is probably an obligate, annual event. The fate of greater sage-grouse in Canada is in part dependent on habitat conservation in the USA because this population spans an international border. Expanding agricultural tillage and development of oil and gas fields threaten to sever connectivity for this imperilled population. Science can help delineate high priority conservation areas but the fate of landscapes ultimately depends on international partnerships implementing conservation at scales relevant to prairie wildlife.

Authors

Tack, Jason D.; Naugle, David E.; Carlson, John C.; Fargey, Pat J.

Year Published

2012

Publication

Oryx

Locations
DOI

10.1017/S003060531000147X

A multi-isotope (δ 13 C, δ 15 N, δ 2 H) feather isoscape to assign Afrotropical migrant birds to origins Hobson, K. A.2012

A multi-isotope (δ 13 C, δ 15 N, δ 2 H) feather isoscape to assign Afrotropical migrant birds to origins

Keywords

Africa, carbon-13, deuterium, feathers, isoscapes, Isoscapes Special Feature, migratory connectivity, nitrogen-15, stable isotopes

Abstract

A universal challenge in methodology used to study the ecology, conservation and evolutionary biology of migratory species is the quantification of connectivity among breeding, wintering and stopover sites. For the avian Eurasian-Afrotropical migratory system, knowledge of geographical wintering areas used by migrants that breed in Europe remains deficient, despite the advent of satellite transmitters and geolocators. Here we explored the use of theoretical plant δ13C and δ15N landscape distributions coupled with δ2H hydrologic models to construct multi-isotopic avian foodweb clusters for Africa. The cluster analysis identified four distinct regions of Africa based on all three isotopes (13C, 2H, 15N), and five regions based only on 13C and 15N. We applied known isotopic diet-tissue discrimination factors to map equivalent feather isotopic clusters for Africa. The validity of these feather isotopic clusters was tested by examining how well known- and unknown-origin species were placed in regions of Africa using previously published feather isotope data. The success of this multi-isotopic cluster model depended upon the species of interest and additionally on how well potential winter molt origins in Africa were constrained by prior information. Ground-truthing data suggested this approach will be useful for first-order approximation of overwintering regions for Afrotropical migrants and will be improved as our understanding of the nature of isoscapes for Africa is refined.

Authors

Hobson, K. A., Van Wilgenburg, S. L., Wassenaar, L. I., Powell, R. L., Still, C. J. and Craine, J. M.

Year Published

2012

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
    DOI

    10.1890/ES12-00018.1

    This article contributed by:

    Ecological Society of America

    Crossing the line: migratory and homing behaviors of Atlantic bluefin tunaRooker, Jay R.2014

    Crossing the line: migratory and homing behaviors of Atlantic bluefin tuna

    Keywords

    Stable isotopes, Nursery origin, Otolith chemistry, Stock structure, Population connectivity, Migration, Philopatry

    Abstract

    Assessment and management of Atlantic bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus populations is hindered by our lack of knowledge regarding trans-Atlantic movement and connectivity of eastern and western populations. Here, we evaluated migratory and homing behaviors of bluefin tuna in several regions of the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea using chemical tags (δ13C and δ18O) in otoliths. Significant emigration of bluefin tuna from their place of origin was inferred from otolith δ13C and δ18O, with both eastern and western bluefin tuna commonly ‘crossing the line’ (45° W management boundary) in the Central North Atlantic Ocean and mixing with the other population. Several western migrants were also detected in Moroccan traps off the coast of Africa, indicating that trans-Atlantic movement occurs for members of the western population; however, the degree of mixing declined with proximity to the eastern spawning area (Mediterranean Sea). The origin of bluefin tuna collected at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar and from several regions within the Mediterranean Sea (Balearic Islands, Malta, and Sardinia) was essentially 100% eastern fish, demonstrating that natal homing is well developed by the eastern population, with western migrants rarely entering the Mediterranean Sea.

    Authors

    Rooker, Jay R., Arrizabalaga, Haritz, Fraile, Igaratza, Secor, David H., Dettman, David L., Abid, Noureddine, Addis, Piero, Deguara, Simeon, Karakulak, F. Saadet, Kimoto, Ai, Sakai, Osamu, Macías, David and Santos, Miguel Neves

    Year Published

    2014

    Publication

    Marine Ecology Progress Series

    Locations
      DOI

      10.3354/meps10781

      This article contributed by:

      Inter-Research Science Center

      Recent Articles

      Greater Sage-Grouse Centrocercus Urophasianus Migration Links the Usa and Canada: a Biological Basis for International Prairie Conservation

      by Naugle, David, Tack, Jason, Carlson, John and Fargey, Pat

      Migratory pathways in North American prairies are critical for sustaining endemic biodiversity. Fragmentation and loss of habitat by an encroaching human footprint has extirpated and severely truncated formerly large movements by prairie wildlife populations. Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, a Near Threatened landscape species requiring vast tracts of intact sagebrush Artemisia sp...

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      Range-wide Piping Plover Survival: Correlated Patterns and Temporal Declines.

      by Roche, Erin, Cohen, Jonathan, Catlin, Daniel, Amirault Langlais, Diane, Cuthbert, Francesca, Gratto Trevor, Cheri, Felio, Joy and Fraser, James

      Geographically isolated breeding populations of migratory shorebirds may be demographically connected through shared nonbreeding habitats. We used long-term (1998-2008) mark-recapture data on piping plovers (<em>Charadrius melodus</em>) collected from 7 separate studies located throughout North America to conduct a range-wide analysis of after hatch year apparent survival (?<sub>AHY</sub>). Our...

      published 2010 in Journal of Wildlife Management


      Stable Isotopes (δd) Delineate the Origins and Migratory Connectivity of Harvested Animals: the Case of European Woodpigeons.

      by Hobson, Keith, Hervé, Lormée, Wilgenburg, Van, Steven, L, Wassenaar, Leonard and Jean, Boutin

      <ol><li>Quantifying connectivity between breeding, stopover, and wintering locations is critical to the management and conservation of migratory animals. Mark-recapture approaches to establishing connectivity are limited due to marking location bias and poor recovery. Alternatively, endogenous markers like stable isotopes can augment extrinsic markers and help to overcome their limitations.</li...

      published 2009 in Journal of Applied Ecology

      Feather Deuterium Measurements Reveal Origins of Migratory Western Loggerhead Shrikes (lanius Ludovicianus Excubitorides) Wintering in Mexico

      by Perez, Guillermo and Hobson, Keith

      Understanding the winter distributions of migrant birds is important because productivity and recruitment are influenced by conditions at several locations and periods in the life cycle of individuals. The western loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides, is a threatened species in Canada, and its decline is attributed to potential limitations on the wintering grounds. We examined p...

      published 2007 in Diversity And Distributions