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:1/11/2016)... CHICAGO , Jan. 11, 2016  higi, ... via nearly 10,000 retail locations, web and mobile, ... than $40 million from existing investors. ... will be devoted to further innovate higi,s health ... app and web portal – including expanding services ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... , Jan. 7, 2016 This BCC Research ... for biometric technologies and devices, identifying newer markets and ... various types of biometric devices. Includes forecast from 2015 ... Identify newer markets and explore the expansion of the ... Examine each type of biometric technology, determine its current ...
(Date:1/6/2016)... 2016  Varam Capital, a provider of micro-finance inclusion ... deliver advanced authentication solutions to their clients. Varam supplies ... A loan of a few thousand rupees may make ... ability to purchase livestock or equipment for a small ... for a local store. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... N.J. , Feb. 3, 2016 ... totaling more than $1 million for researchers in ... working on health-related research that demonstrates exciting potential. ... round of funding for the New Jersey Health Foundation ... faculty members at these educational institutions— Princeton University, ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... 2016 , ... ProMIS Neurosciences is currently in the process ... propagating strains of Amyloid beta involved in Alzheimer’s disease. The Company plans to ... on from the first misfolded Amyloid beta target announced on Nov. 12, 2015, ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... annual report which summarizes and analyzes nearly 750 unique supply chain notifications ... and analysis service. , Supply chain risk management practitioners subscribe to the ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Feb. 3, 2016  Today, Symphony Technology Group (STG) ... , a leading provider of primary research and analytics-based ... IMS Health , a global information and technology services ... and technologies will be integrated into IMS Health to ... market research capabilities. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: