Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 649–659 | Cite as

Does climate change explain the decline of a trans-Saharan Afro-Palaearctic migrant?

  • J. W. Pearce-HigginsEmail author
  • D. W. Yalden
  • T. W. Dougall
  • C. M. Beale
Global Change Ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

There is an urgent need to understand how climate change will impact on demographic parameters of vulnerable species. Migrants are regarded as particularly vulnerable to climate change; phenological mismatch has resulted in the local decline of one passerine, whilst variations in the survival of others have been related to African weather conditions. However, there have been few demographic studies on trans-Saharan non-passerine migrants, despite these showing stronger declines across Europe than passerines. We therefore analyse the effects of climate on the survival and productivity of common sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, a declining non-passerine long-distant migrant using 28 years’ data from the Peak District, England. Adult survival rates were significantly negatively correlated with winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), being lower when winters were warm and wet in western Europe and cool and dry in northwest Africa. Annual variation in the productivity of the population was positively correlated with June temperature, but not with an index of phenological mismatch. The 59% population decline appears largely to have been driven by reductions in adult survival, with local productivity poorly correlated with subsequent population change, suggesting a low degree of natal philopatry. Winter NAO was not significantly correlated with adult survival rates in a second, Scottish Borders population, studied for 12 years. Variation in climatic conditions alone does not therefore appear to be responsible for common sandpiper declines. Unlike some passerine migrants, there was no evidence for climate-driven reductions in productivity, although the apparent importance of immigration in determining local recruitment complicates the assessment of productivity effects. We suggest that further studies to diagnose common sandpiper declines should focus on changes in the condition of migratory stop-over or wintering locations. Where possible, these analyses should be repeated for other declining migrants.

Keywords

Actitis hypoleucos Common sandpiper North Atlantic Oscillation Productivity Survival 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many landowners who allowed us to conduct this fieldwork, including Blackhope, Raeshaw and Rosebery Estates (Borders), M. Cotterill, G. Wainright, L. Hassel, Severn-Trent Water and the National Trust (Peak District). We are also grateful to Adam Batty, Lynn Campbell, Alan Lauder, Tony O’Connor, Trevor Smith and Bill Underwood for their assistance in the field, and to Phil Holland for his long involvement with the Ashop study. We are grateful for many helpful comments from two anonymous referees and Katrin Böhning-Gaese. This study fully complied with current UK laws.

References

  1. Anders AD, Post E (2006) Distribution-wide effects of climate on population densities of a declining migratory landbird. J Anim Ecol 75:221–227PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baillie SR, Marchant JH, Crick HQP, Noble DG, Balmer DE, Coombes RH, Downie IS, Freeman SN, Joys AC, Leech DI, Raven MJ, Robinson RA, Thewlis RM (2006) Breeding birds in the wider countryside: their conservation status 2005. BTO research report no. 435. BTO, Thetford (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)
  3. Beale CM, Burfield IJ, Sim IMW, Rebecca GW, Pearce-Higgins JW, Grant MC (2006) Climate change may account for the decline in British ring ouzels Turdus torquatus. J Anim Ecol 75:826–835PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Both C, Bouwhuis S, Lessells CM, Visser ME (2006a) Climate change and population declines in a long-distance migratory birds. Nature 441:81–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Both C, Sanz JJ, Artemyev AA, Blaauw B, Cowie RJ, Dekhuijzen AJ, Enemar A, Järvinen A, Nyholm NEI, Potti J, Ravussin P-A, Silverin B, Slater FM, Sokolov LV, Visser ME, Winkel W, Wright J, Zang H (2006b) Pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca traveling from Africa to breed in Europe: differential effects of winter and migratory conditions on breeding data. Ardea 94:511–525Google Scholar
  6. Brunel T, Boucher J (2007) Long-term trends in fish recruitment in the north-east Atlantic related to climate change. Fish Oceanogr 16:336–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and inference: a practical information—theoretic approach. Fort Collins, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  8. Coppack T, Both C (2002) Predicting life-cycle adaptation of migratory birds to global climate change. Ardea 90:369–378Google Scholar
  9. Cowley E, Siriwardena GM (2005) Long-term variation in survival rates of Sand Martins Riparia riparia: dependence on breeding and wintering ground weather, age and sex, and their population consequences. Bird Study 52:237–251Google Scholar
  10. Cramp S, Simmons KEL (1983) Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: the birds of the Western Palearctic. Waders to gulls, vol 3. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Dougall TW, Holland PK, Mee A, Yalden DW (2005) Comparative population dynamics of common sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos: living at the edge. Bird Study 52:80–87Google Scholar
  12. Dugger KM, Faaborg J, Arendt WJ, Hobson KA (2004) Understanding survival and abundance of overwintering warblers: does rainfall matter? Condor 106:744–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Durance I, Ormerod SJ (2007) Climate change effects on upland stream macroinvertebrates over a 25-year period. Glob Chang Biol 13:942–957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fischlin A, Midgley GF, Price JT, Leemans R, Gopal B, Turley C, Rounsevell MDA, Dube OP, Tarazona J, Velichko AA (2007) Ecosystems, their properties, goods, and services. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 211–272Google Scholar
  15. Forchhammer MC, Post E, Stenseth NC (1998) Breeding phenology and climate. Nature 319:29–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Forchhammer MC, Clutton-Brock TH, Lindström J, Albon SD (2001) Climate and population density induce long-term cohort variation in a northern ungulate. J Anim Ecol 70:721–729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forchhammer MC, Post E, Stenseth NC (2002) North Atlantic Oscillation timing of long- and short-distance migration. J Anim Ecol 71:1002–1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Freckleton RP, Watkinson AR, Green RE, Sutherland WJ (2006) Census error and the detection of density dependence. J Anim Ecol 75:837–851PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greene CH, Pershing AJ (2004) Climate and the conservation biology of North Atlantic right whales: the right whale at the wrong time? Front Ecol Environ 2:29–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hallett TB, Coulson T, Pilkington RG, Clutton-Brock TH, Pemberton JM, Grenffell B (2004) Why large-scale climate indices seem to predict ecological processes better than local weather. Nature 430:71–75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hitchcock CL, Gratto-Trevor C (1997) Diagnosing a shorebird local population decline with a stage-structured population model. Ecology 78:522–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Holland PK, Yalden DW (1991) Population dynamics of common sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos breeding along an upland river system. Bird Study 38:151–159Google Scholar
  23. Holland PK, Yalden DW (1995) Who lives and who dies? The impact of severe April weather on breeding common sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos. Ring Migr 16:121–123Google Scholar
  24. Holland PK, Yalden DW (2002a) Population dynamics of common sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos in the Peak District of Derbyshire—a different decade. Bird Study 49:131–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holland PK, Yalden DW (2002b) Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos. In: Wernham C, Thoms M, Marchant J, Clark J, Siriwardena G, Baillie S (eds) The migration atlas. Poyser, London, pp 379–391Google Scholar
  26. Hüppop O, Hüppop K (2003) North Atlantic Oscillation and timing of spring migration in birds. Proc R Soc Lond B 270:233–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Visbeck M (2001) The North Atlantic Oscillation. Science 291:603–604PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hurrell KW, Kushnir Y, Ottersen G, Visbeck M (2003) An overview of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Geophys Monogr 134:1–35Google Scholar
  29. Jackson DB (1994) Breeding dispersal and site-fidelity in three monogamous wader species in the Western Isles, UK. Ibis 136:463–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Janicot S, Trzaska S, Poccard I (2001) Summer Sahel–ENSO teleconnection and decadal time scale SST variations. Climate Dynamics 18:303–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lampila S, Orell M, Belda E, Koivula K (2006) Importance of adult survival, local recruitment and immigration in a declining boreal forest passerine, the willow tit Parus motanus. Oecologia 148:405–413PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lemoine N, Böhning-Gaese K (2003) Potential impact of global climate change on species richness of long-distance migrants. Conserv Biol 17:577–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ludwig GX, Alatalo RV, Helle P, Linden H, Lindstrom J, Siitari H (2006) Short- and long-term population dynamical consequences of asymmetric climate change in black grouse. Proc R Soc Lond B 273:2009–2016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mee A (2001) Reproductive strategies in the common sandpiper Actitis hyploeucos. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield, UKGoogle Scholar
  35. Mills AM (2005) Changes in the timing of spring and autumn migration in North American migrant passerines during a period of global warming. Ibis 147:259–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Newton I (1998) Population limitation in birds. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Newton I (2004) Population limitation in migrants. Ibis 146:197–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Oberhauser K, Townsend Peterson A (2003) Modelling current and future potential wintering distributions of eastern North American monarch butterflies. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:14063–14068PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parmesan C, Yohe G (2003) A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421:37–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Peach W, Baillie S, Underhill L (1991) Survival of British sedge warblers Acrocephalus schoenobaenus in relation to west African rainfall. Ibis 133:300–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Post E, Stenseth NC, Langvatn R, Fromentin J-M (1997) Global climate change and phenotypic variation among red deer cohorts. Proc R Soc Lond B 264:1317–1324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pradel R, Hines JE, Lebreton JD, Nichols JD (1997) Capture–recapture survival models taking account of transients. Biometrics 53:60–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pradel R, Wintrebert CMA, Gimenez O (2003) A proposal for a goodness-of-fit test to the Arnason–Schwarz multisite capture–recapture model. Biometrics 59:43–52PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Reid JM, Bignal EM, McCracken DI, Monaghan P (2003) Environmental variability, life-history covariation and cohort effects in the red-billed chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. J Anim Ecol 72:36–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rodriguez C, Bustamante J (2003) The effect of weather on lesser kestrel breeding success: can climate change explain historical population declines? J Anim Ecol 72:93–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Root RJ, Price JT, Hall KR, Schneider SH, Rosenzweig C, Pounds JA (2003) Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants. Nature 421:57–60PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sanderson FJ, Donald PF, Burfield IJ, van Bommel FPJ (2006) Long-term population declines in Afro-Palearctic migrant birds. Biol Conserv 131:93–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sillett TS, Holmes RT, Sherry TW (2000) Impacts of a global climate cycle on population dynamics of a migratory songbird. Science 288:2040–2042PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sparks TH, Bairlein F, Bojarinova JG, Hüppop O, Lehikoinen EA, Rainio K, Sokolov LV, Walker D (2005) Examining the total arrival distribution of migratory birds. Glob Chang Biol 11:22–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stenseth NC, Mysterud A (2005) Weather packages: finding the right scale and composition of climate in ecology. J Anim Ecol 74:1196–1198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stige LC, Stave J, Chan KS, Ciannelli L, Pettorelli N, Glantz M, Herren HR, Stenseth NC (2006) The effect of climate variation on agro-pastoral production in Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:3049–3053PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stokke BG, Moller AP, Saether B-E, Rheinwald G, Gutscher H (2005) Weather in the breeding area and during migration affects the demography of a small long-distance passerine migrant. Auk 122:637–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thomas CD, Cameron A, Green RE, Bakkenes M, Beaumont LJ, Collingham YC, Erasmus BFN, Ferreira de Siqueira M, Grainger A, Hannah L, Hughes L, Huntley B, van Jaarsveld AS, Midgley GF, Miles L, Ortega-Huerta MA, Peterson AT, Phillips OL, Williams SE (2004) Extinction risk from climate change. Nature 427:145–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Thompson PS, Baines D, Coulson JC, Longrigg G (1994) Age at first breeding, philopatry and breeding site-fidelity in the lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Ibis 136:474–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vahatalo AV, Rainio K, Lehikoinen A, Lehikoinen E (2004) Spring arrival of birds depends on the North Atlantic Oscillation. J Avian Biol 35:210–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Visser ME, Both C (2005) Shifts in phenology due to global climate change: the need for a yardstick. Proc R Soc Lond B 272:2561–2569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wang D, Wang C, Yang X, Lu J (2005) Winter Northern Hemisphere surface air temperature variability associated with the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. Geophys Res Lett 32:L16706. doi: 10.1029/2005GL022952 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ward MP (2005) The role of immigration in the decline of an isolated migratory bird population. Conserv Biol 19:1528–1536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. White GC (2001) Program MARK, version 2.1: mark and recapture survival rate estimation. http://www.cnr.colstate.edu/~gwhite/mark Accessed 15 October 2001
  60. White GC, Burnham KP (1999) Program MARK: survival estimation from populations of marked animals. Bird Study 46:S120–S138Google Scholar
  61. Yalden DW (1986) Diet, food availability and habitat selection of breeding common sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos. Ibis 128:23–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Pearce-Higgins
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. W. Yalden
    • 2
  • T. W. Dougall
    • 3
  • C. M. Beale
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.RSPBEdinburghUK
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesVictoria University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.EdinburghUK
  4. 4.The Macaulay InstituteCraigiebuckler, AberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations