Navigation Links
Shorebirds shape up and ship out
Date:1/20/2010

Some Canadian shorebirds have had to get fit or die trying. Research published in the open access journal BMC Ecology has found that the average Pacific dunlin has lost weight and spends more time in flight as a response to the increased threat of predation from their arch-enemy, the peregrine falcon.

Fortunately for the falcon, the outlawing of the highly toxic chemical fertilizer DDT in the 1970s has led to an increase in their population. Bad luck though for Pacific dunlins, which once enjoyed lazy winter afternoons roosting in relative safety on the shore of the Fraser River estuary in British Columbia. Drawing on a pool of data spanning four decades, a team of ecologists led by Ronald Ydenberg from Simon Fraser University has found that the dunlins have had to adapt their behavior and their diets in order to survive. Ydenberg says, "In the past, dunlins stored up fat reserves in the autumn months so that they could survive the harsh Canadian winters when food is short. What we're seeing now, however, with the increase in numbers of peregrine falcons, is that the dunlins have to consider the energy trade-off between preparing for starvation and being able to escape quickly".

Starving during the winter is still a very real possibility for Pacific dunlins, but they can no longer rest easy now that peregrine falcons are around. Some dunlins will fly long distances to find safer roosts, but many now choose to take to the air en masse during peak peregrine feeding times instead. "Over-ocean flocking is energetically expensive", says team member Dick Dekker, "but the risk from predators is now greater than the threat of starvation". When a streamlined hunter is hot on your tail, it doesn't pay to be a fat bird. The average weight of a Pacific dunlin has decreased by 2-4g over the past 40 years. These adaptations, along with spending more time flying out at sea, help the dunlin to escape predators so that they can safely make it through the winter.


'/>"/>

Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2165
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Facial attraction -- choice of sexual partner shaped the human face
2. Shape encoding may start in the retina
3. Grant supports study of abnormal ring-shaped chromosomes
4. Secure Services Corp. Achieves Milestone in United States Identity Protection with the Launch of the SSC SHAPE Card Management Solution
5. How cells keep in shape
6. New process makes nanofibers in complex shapes and unlimited lengths
7. Particle accelerator may reveal shape of alternate dimensions
8. Crop scientists discover gene that controls fruit shape
9. Ozone hole recovery may reshape southern hemisphere climate change
10. Study links low-frequency hearing to shape of the cochlea
11. Courtship pattern shaped by emergence of a new gene in fruit flies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar 24, 2017 Research and Markets ... System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade ... industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their ... The ... CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach approximately ... the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 21, 2017 Optimove , ... by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today ... Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, ... product and replenishment recommendations to their customers based ... predictions of customer intent drawn from a complex ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent communities of bacteria that are encased ... food poisoning and catheter infections to gum disease and the rejection of medical implants. ... dollars per year, there is currently a paucity of means for preventing their formation ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... today that it is exhibiting in booth B2 at the Association for ... May 22-25. , In addition to demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit and ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... Dr. Ralph ... at the Prince Of Wales Private Hospital. The procedure was performed on a ... patient failed conservative treatments prior to undergoing surgery. , The AxioMed viscoelastic disc ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... Cognition Corporation ... has just released version 9.0 of the Cognition Cockpit platform. , “Our whole ... says David Cronin, CEO of Cognition. “We’re thrilled to finally be able to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: