The relative importance of food abundance and weather on the growth of a sub-arctic shorebird chick

The relative importance of food abundance and weather on the growth of a sub-arctic shorebird chick Understanding how environmental conditions affect growth is important because conditions experienced during early develop- ment could have immediate as well as long-term fitness consequences. Annual fluctuations in (environmental) conditions may influence life histories of entire cohorts of offspring. In birds, food availability and weather have been identified to affect chick growth. However, the relative importance of these factors in explaining growth in different years is poorly understood. We studied the growth of golden plover Pluvialis apricaria chicks by radio-tracking individuals from hatching till fledging and related variation in chick growth to food availability (as sampled by pitfall trapping) and weather conditions. 2011 appeared to be a favourable season in which the chicks achieved notably fast growth rates. In 2013, in contrast, chicks were lagging behind in growth and possibly even achieved smaller ultimate sizes. Food abundance had a dominant effect on growth, whereas temper- ature only had short-term effects (at least in body weight). Thus, variation in food availability rather than variation in weather could explain the marked difference in growth of the plover chicks between the years. A short but intense flush of Bibio flies late in the breeding season in 2011 seems the reason why the plover http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Springer Journals

The relative importance of food abundance and weather on the growth of a sub-arctic shorebird chick

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature
Subject
Life Sciences; Behavioral Sciences; Zoology; Animal Ecology
ISSN
0340-5443
eISSN
1432-0762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00265-018-2457-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Understanding how environmental conditions affect growth is important because conditions experienced during early develop- ment could have immediate as well as long-term fitness consequences. Annual fluctuations in (environmental) conditions may influence life histories of entire cohorts of offspring. In birds, food availability and weather have been identified to affect chick growth. However, the relative importance of these factors in explaining growth in different years is poorly understood. We studied the growth of golden plover Pluvialis apricaria chicks by radio-tracking individuals from hatching till fledging and related variation in chick growth to food availability (as sampled by pitfall trapping) and weather conditions. 2011 appeared to be a favourable season in which the chicks achieved notably fast growth rates. In 2013, in contrast, chicks were lagging behind in growth and possibly even achieved smaller ultimate sizes. Food abundance had a dominant effect on growth, whereas temper- ature only had short-term effects (at least in body weight). Thus, variation in food availability rather than variation in weather could explain the marked difference in growth of the plover chicks between the years. A short but intense flush of Bibio flies late in the breeding season in 2011 seems the reason why the plover

Journal

Behavioral Ecology and SociobiologySpringer Journals

Published: Feb 21, 2018

References

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