Nav: Home

Routes of migratory birds follow today's peaks in resources

January 04, 2017

Movement of migratory birds is closely linked to seasonal availability of resources. The birds locate the areas with the most resources across continents. Researchers from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, have tracked three long-distance migratory birds. By comparing the bird's migration routes to climate projections, the scientists show that finding food may become a challenge to the birds by the end of this century.

Migratory birds need to schedule their annual trips properly in order to reach areas with sufficient food resources during wintering.

A new paper published today in Science Advances, shows that common cuckoos, red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingale are able to closely follow the complex seasonal vegetation changes occurring within their non-breeding grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. Bird Migration researcher and first-author Professor Kasper Thorup from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, says,

- We show that all three birds cross continents to match highest levels of resource supply. The bird's migration-program guides them to areas where food availability has been high in the past. So, what is interesting now is the bird's ability to adjust their migration pattern to match future changes in food availability.

In total 38 individual birds were tracked to establish the migration routes. The common cuckoo was tracked using satellite tracking, while the smaller red-backed shrikes and trust nightingale were tracked using light loggers, Kasper Thorup, explains,

- All three species have complex migration routes covering large parts of Europe and Africa with many stops along their way. Mapping their routes has only been possible using the newest available technology from satellite telemetry in cuckoos to small tags that log light-levels in red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingales.

The study shows that the migration pattern in cuckoos matched high levels of green vegetation whereas it matched local vegetation peaks for red-backed and nightingales. Both green vegetation and vegetation peaks are presumably related to abundant food availability.

The scientist compared the observed migration route to projections of food availability for 2080. This showed a mismatch between seasonal resources and the birds expected presence. Co-author Professor Carsten Rahbek from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, elaborates,

- We believe that bird's innate programme to guide them over long distances, must be adapted to long-term average of food availability. Our results suggest that by the end of this century climate change, and other impacts on the food source, like land use changes, could negatively influence the birds' chances to find sufficient food.
-end-
@Kasper_Thorup
@macroecology
@Carsten_Rahbek

Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

Related Evolution Articles:

Prebiotic evolution: Hairpins help each other out
The evolution of cells and organisms is thought to have been preceded by a phase in which informational molecules like DNA could be replicated selectively.
How to be a winner in the game of evolution
A new study by University of Arizona biologists helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life.
The galloping evolution in seahorses
A genome project, comprising six evolutionary biologists from Professor Axel Meyer's research team from Konstanz and researchers from China and Singapore, sequenced and analyzed the genome of the tiger tail seahorse.
Fast evolution affects everyone, everywhere
Rapid evolution of other species happens all around us all the time -- and many of the most extreme examples are associated with human influences.
Landscape evolution and hazards
Landscapes are formed by a combination of uplift and erosion.
New insight into enzyme evolution
How enzymes -- the biological proteins that act as catalysts and help complex reactions occur -- are 'tuned' to work at a particular temperature is described in new research from groups in New Zealand and the UK, including the University of Bristol.
The evolution of Dark-fly
On Nov. 11, 1954, Syuiti Mori turned out the lights on a small group of fruit flies.
A look into the evolution of the eye
A team of researchers, among them a zoologist from the University of Cologne, has succeeded in reconstructing a 160 million year old compound eye of a fossil crustacean found in southeastern France visible.
Is evolution more intelligent than we thought?
Evolution may be more intelligent than we thought, according to a University of Southampton professor.
The evolution of antievolution policies
Organized opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schoolsin the United States began in the 1920s, leading to the famous Scopes Monkey trial.

Related Evolution Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...