Demographic and distributional responses by adult long-distance migrating shorebirds to the rapid loss of staging habitat

  • Chan, G. (Speaker)
  • Tamar Lok (Contributor)
  • Sheena Suet Wah Chung (Contributor)
  • Lee Tibbitts (Contributor)
  • Shen Zhang (Contributor)
  • Chris J. Hassell (Contributor)
  • Piersma, T. (Contributor)

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


Facing habitat destruction, mobile animals can remain at original habitat which would result in higher densities, or move to alternative habitats of lower quality. If the amount of habitat is a limiting factor,negative fitness consequences are expected from density-dependence effects, which can result in population declines. This easy-to-understand process is hard to document in wild populations facing real problems. We study this process in a long-distance migratory shorebird, the bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica menzbieri), facing rapid habitat loss at their main refueling area during their migration, which is the mudflats in the Yellow Sea. We found from satellite imagery that between 2007 and 2018, reclamation occurred in nine out of our 12 study sites, resulted in about 40% of mudflat area being converted to land. During this period, survival of this population was high and decreased since 2011. To examine distributional changes, we compared locations of godwits satellite-tracked in 2015-2018 to those in 2008. At sites where substantial amount of mudflats remained after reclamation, godwits shifted seawards into deeper mudflats, where the mudflats are exposed for shorter time for them to forage. Sites with almost all of the mudflat reclaimed are not visited by 2015-2018 birds anymore. While godwits’ distribution in the Yellow Sea have changed in response to loss of mudflat, in 2015 to 2018, godwit usage remained positively related to mudflat area. While the shifting to unused deeper mudflats might represent one way that birds can buffer habitat loss in 2008, both the survival trend and the positive mudflat area-usage relationship suggest the population is limited by the amount of mudflats in the Yellow Sea. A severe population decline is expected if there is any further loss in mudflats in the Yellow Sea.
EvenementstitelNetherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2019
Organisator Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
LocatieLunteren, NetherlandsToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningNational