Identifying the African wintering grounds of hybrid flycatchers using a multi-isotope (δ2H, δ13C, δ15N) assignment approach

Thor Veen*, Marten B. Hjernquist, Steven L. Van Wilgenburg, Keith A. Hobson, Eelke Folmer, Laura Font, Marcel Klaassen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    Migratory routes and wintering grounds can have important fitness consequences, which can lead to divergent selection on populations or taxa differing in their migratory itinerary. Collared (Ficedula albicollis) and pied (F. hypoleuca) flycatchers breeding in Europe and wintering in different sub-Saharan regions have distinct migratory routes on the eastern and western sides of the Sahara desert, respectively. In an earlier paper, we showed that hybrids of the two species did not incur reduced winter survival, which would be expected if their migration strategy had been a mix of the parent species' strategies potentially resulting in an intermediate route crossing the Sahara desert to different wintering grounds. Previously, we compared isotope ratios and found no significant difference in stable-nitrogen isotope ratios (delta N-15) in wintergrown feathers between the parental species and hybrids, but stable-carbon isotope ratios (delta C-13) in hybrids significantly clustered only with those of pied flycatchers. We followed up on these findings and additionally analyzed the same feathers for stable-hydrogen isotope ratios (delta H-2) and conducted spatially explicit multi-isotope assignment analyses. The assignment results overlapped with presumed wintering ranges of the two species, highlighting the efficacy of the method. In contrast to earlier findings, hybrids clustered with both parental species, though most strongly with pied flycatcher.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere98075
    Number of pages7
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume9
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 21-May-2014

    Keywords

    • LIGHT-LEVEL GEOLOCATORS
    • MIGRATORY BEHAVIOR
    • PHYLLOSCOPUS-TROCHILUS
    • SYLVIA-ATRICAPILLA
    • NITROGEN ISOTOPES
    • STABLE HYDROGEN
    • BIRDS
    • EVOLUTION
    • NAVIGATION
    • DIRECTION

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