When Siberia came to the Netherlands: The response of continental black-tailed godwits to a rare spring weather event

Nathan R Senner, Mo A Verhoeven, José M Abad-Gómez, Jorge S Gutiérrez, Jos C. E. W. Hooijmeijer, Rosemarie Kentie, José A Masero, T Lee Tibbitts, Theunis Piersma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Extreme weather events have the potential to alter both short- and long-term population dynamics as well as community- and ecosystem-level function. Such events are rare and stochastic, making it difficult to fully document how organisms respond to them and predict the repercussions of similar events in the future. To improve our understanding of the mechanisms by which short-term events can incur long-term consequences, we documented the behavioural responses and fitness consequences for a long-distance migratory bird, the continental black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa limosa, resulting from a spring snowstorm and three-week period of record low temperatures. The event caused measurable responses at three spatial scales - continental, regional and local - including migratory delays (+19 days), reverse migrations (>90 km), elevated metabolic costs (+8·8% maintenance metabolic rate) and increased foraging rates (+37%). There were few long-term fitness consequences, however, and subsequent breeding seasons instead witnessed high levels of reproductive success and little evidence of carry-over effects. This suggests that populations with continued access to food, behavioural flexibility and time to dissipate the costs of the event can likely withstand the consequences of an extreme weather event. For populations constrained in one of these respects, though, extreme events may entail extreme ecological consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1176
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume84
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2015

Keywords

  • LIMOSA-LIMOSA-LIMOSA
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • L.-LIMOSA
  • MIGRATION
  • SHOREBIRD
  • SELECTION
  • SURVIVAL
  • ECOLOGY
  • FITNESS
  • CHICKS

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