Stochastic atmospheric assistance and the use of emergency staging sites by migrants

Shamoun-Baranes, Judy, Leyrer, Jutta, van Loon, Emiel, Bocher, Pierrick, Robin, Frédéric, Meunier, Francis and Piersma, Theunis 2010, Stochastic atmospheric assistance and the use of emergency staging sites by migrants, Proceedings of the Royal Society B : biological sciences, vol. 277, pp. 1505-1511.

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Title Stochastic atmospheric assistance and the use of emergency staging sites by migrants
Author(s) Shamoun-Baranes, Judy
Leyrer, Jutta
van Loon, Emiel
Bocher, Pierrick
Robin, Frédéric
Meunier, Francis
Piersma, Theunis
Journal name Proceedings of the Royal Society B : biological sciences
Volume number 277
Start page 1505
End page 1511
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2010
ISSN 0962-8452
Keyword(s) Calidris canutus canutus
wind assistance
Summary Numerous animals move vast distances through media with stochastic dynamic properties. Avian migrants must cope with variable wind speeds and directions en route, which potentially jeopardize fine-tuned migration routes and itineraries. We show how unpredictable winds affect flight times and the use of an intermediate staging site by red knots (Calidris canutus canutus) migrating from west Africa to the central north Siberian breeding areas via the German Wadden Sea. A dynamic migration model incorporating wind conditions during flight shows that flight durations between Mauritania and the Wadden Sea vary between 2 and 8 days. The number of birds counted at the only known intermediate staging site on the French Atlantic coast was strongly positively correlated with simulated flight times. In addition, particularly light-weight birds occurred at this location. These independent results support the idea that stochastic wind conditions are the main driver of the use of this intermediate stopover site as an emergency staging area. Because of the ubiquity of stochastically varying media, we expect such emergency habitats to exist in many other migratory systems, both airborne and oceanic. Our model provides a tool to quantify the effect of winds and currents en route.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, The Royal Society
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