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 development 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 temperature 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 chicks managed to achieve high growth rates in that year, despite hatching after the main arthropod peak. Thus, understanding cohort effects in the growth of plover chicks, for example in relation to climate change, requires an understanding of the seasonal dynamics of individual prey species.
Yearly variation in environmental conditions may influence the life histories of whole cohorts of offspring. Understanding these ‘cohort effects’ is important to ultimately understand life history evolution. We studied the growth of golden plover chicks, a sub-arctic breeding shorebird, during two breeding seasons, and found that chick growth lagged behind in 2013. In birds, food availability and weather have been identified to be the two main factors affecting chick growth, but the relative importance of these factors in explaining differences in growth between years is poorly understood. These examples are indeed needed to ultimately understand population dynamics and life history evolution in the field.
KeywordsChick growth Resources Wader Weather Year-effect
This research would have been impossible without the continuous encouragement of Martin Green and Åke Lindström. We thank Johannes Hungar and Rob van Bemmelen for all the help and support during the fieldwork campaigns. We are grateful to the volunteers that helped out with fieldwork, especially Manuel Flores, Zymantas Cekas and Maite Laso. We thank Yvonne Verkuil from the lab of the Global Flyway Ecology chair at the University of Groningen for molecular sexing of the second batch of plover chicks. At last, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers that make the manuscript improve with their comments until final publication.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
The fieldwork was carried out under permits from the Lund/Malmö Ethical Committee for Animal Experiments (M160-11, M27-10, M33-13).
- Beintema AJ, Visser GH (1989) Growth parameters in chicks of charadriiform birds. Ardea 77:169–180Google Scholar
- Byrkjedal I, Thompson DBA (1998) Tundra plovers: the Eurasian, Pacific and American golden plovers, and grey plover. T. & A.D, PoyserGoogle Scholar
- Callaghan TV, Björn LO, Chapin FS, Chernov Y, Christensen TR, Huntley B, Ims R, Johansson M (2005) Arctic tundra and polar desert ecosystems. In: Symon C, Arris L, Heal B (eds) Arctic climate impact assessment: scientific report. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 243–352Google Scholar
- Giner G, Smyth GK (2016) Statmod: probability calculations for the inverse Gaussian distribution. R J 8:339–351Google Scholar
- Grafen A (1988) On the uses of data on lifetime reproductive success. In: Clutton-Brock TH (ed) Reproductive success. Studies of individual variation in contrasting breeding systems. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 454–471Google Scholar
- Handel CM, Gill RE (2001) Black turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala), no. 585. In: Poole A, Gill F (eds) The birds of North America. The birds of North America, Inc., PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
- Krijgsveld KL, Reneerkens JWH, McNett GD, Ricklefs RE (2003) Time budgets and body temperatures of American golden-plover chicks in relation to ambient temperature. Condor 105(2):268–278. https://doi.org/10.1650/0010-5422(2003)105[0268:TBABTO]2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
- Liebezeit JR, Smith PA, Lanctot RB et al (2007) Assessing the development of shorebird eggs using the flotation method: species-specific and generalized regression models. Condor 109(1):32–47. https://doi.org/10.1650/0010-5422(2007)109[32:ATDOSE]2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
- Machín P, Fernández-Elipe J (2012) The role of snow after a lemming peak year in Lapland. Poster presented at: International Wader Study Group Conference, Séné, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312936860_The_role_of_snow_after_a_lemming_peak_year_in_Lapland
- Meltofte H, Piersma T, Boyd H et al (2007) Effects of climate variation on the breeding ecology of Arctic shorebirds. Bioscience 59:1–48Google Scholar
- Newton I (1989) Lifetime reproduction in birds. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Piersma T, Lindstrom A, Drent RH, Tulp I, Jukema J, Morrison RIG, Reneerkens J, Schekkerman H, Visser GH, Lindström Å (2003) High daily energy expenditure of incubating shorebirds on high Arctic tundra: a circumpolar study. Funct Ecol 17(3):356–362. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2435.2003.00741.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pinheiro J, Bates D, DebRoy S, Sarkar D, Core Team R (2017) nlme: linear and nonlinear mixed effects models. R Package Version 3:1–131 https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/nlme/nlme.pdf Google Scholar
- Roff D (1993) The evolution of life histories. Chapman and Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Saether B, Bakke O (2000) Avian life history variation and contribution of demographic traits to the population growth rate. Ecology 81(3):642–653. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2000)081[0642:ALHVAC]2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
- Saino N, Ambrosini R, Rubolini D, von Hardenberg J, Provenzale A, Huppop K, Huppop O, Lehikoinen A, Lehikoinen E, Rainio K, Romano M, Sokolov L (2011) Climate warming, ecological mismatch at arrival and population decline in migratory birds. Proc R Soc Lond B 278(1707):835–842. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.1778 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schekkerman H, Tulp I, Calf K, de Leeuw JJ (2004) Studies on breeding shorebirds at Medusa Bay, Taimyr, in summer 2002. Alterra report 922, WageningenGoogle Scholar
- Schekkerman H, van Roomen MW, Underhill LG (1998) Growth, behaviour of broods, and weather-related variation in breeding productivity of curlew sandpipers Calidris ferruginea. Ardea 86:153–168Google Scholar
- Skartveit J (1995) Distribution and flight periods of Bibio Geoffrow, 1972 species (Diptera, Bibionidae) in Norway, with a key to the species. Fauna Norv B 42:83–112Google Scholar
- Stearns SC (1992) The evolution of life histories. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Tjørve KMC (2007) Does chick development relate to breeding latitude in waders and gulls? Wader Study Group Bull 112:12–23Google Scholar
- Tjørve KMC, Schekkerman H, Tulp I, Underhill LG, De Leeuw JJ, Visser GH (2007) Growth and energetics of a small shorebird species in a cold environment: the little stint Calidris minuta on the Taimyr Peninsula, Siberia. J Avian Biol 38(5):552–563. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2007.0908-8857.04014.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tulp I, Schekkerman H (2001) Studies on breeding shorebirds at Medusa Bay, Taimyr, in summer 2001. Alterra report 451, WageningenGoogle Scholar
- van Gils JA, Lisovski S, Lok T, Meissner W, Ożarowska A, de Fouw J, Rakhimberdiev E, Soloviev MY, Piersma T, Klaassen M (2016) Body shrinkage due to Arctic warming reduces red knot fitness in tropical wintering range. Science 352(6287):819–821. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad6351 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- van de Pol M, Bruinzeel LW, Heg D, van der Jeugd HP, Verhulst S (2006) A silver spoon for a golden future: long-term effects of natal origin on fitness prospects of oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus). J Anim Ecol 75(2):616–626. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2006.01079.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- van der Velde M, Haddrath O, Verkuil YI, Baker AJ, Piersma T (2017) New primers for molecular sex identification of waders. Wader Study 124 (published online, doi: https://doi.org/10.18194/ws.00069)