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The Effects of Habitat Type and Volcanic Eruptions on the Breeding Demography of Icelandic Whimbrels Numenius phaeopus.

Katrínardóttir B, Alves JA, Sigurjónsdóttir H, Hersteinsson P, Gunnarsson TG - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Estimating variation in those rates is key for developing successful conservation strategies.We found that an estimated minimum of 23% of the Icelandic population of Whimbrels and c. 10% of the world population of the species breed in riverplain habitats in Iceland.Predation by livestock may have had a considerable negative effect on breeding success on our study sites.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Ecology Department, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Gardabaer, Iceland; South Iceland Research Centre, University of Iceland, Selfoss/Gunnarsholt, Iceland.

ABSTRACT
Distinct preference of species for habitats is most often driven by long term differences in demographic rates between habitats. Estimating variation in those rates is key for developing successful conservation strategies. Stochastic events can interact with underlying variation in habitat quality in regulating demography but the opportunities to explore such interactions are rare. Whimbrels in Iceland show a strong preference for sparsely vegetated riverplains. Such habitats in Iceland face various threats, e.g., climate change, river regulation and spread of alien plant species. In this study we compared demographic parameters of breeding Whimbrels between riverplains and other habitats before, during and after volcanic eruption events to estimate the importance of the habitats for the species and the effect of ash deposit on breeding success. We found that an estimated minimum of 23% of the Icelandic population of Whimbrels and c. 10% of the world population of the species breed in riverplain habitats in Iceland. Whimbrels bred consistently at much higher densities in riverplain habitats than in other habitats and riverplains also had higher densities of pairs with fledglings although the proportion of successful breeders was similar between habitats. Predation by livestock may have had a considerable negative effect on breeding success on our study sites. Breeding was negatively affected by the volcanic activity, probably through the effects of ash on the invertebrate food supply, with breeding success being gradually worse closer to the eruption. Breeding success was equally affected by volcanism across habitats which differed in underlying habitat quality. This study gives an example of how populations can be regulated by factors which operate at different spatial scales, such as local variation in habitat quality and stochastic events which impact larger areas.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Effect of distance to Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the proportion of successful pairs.2010 is shown with black symbols & line (y = 0.0035x + 0.455) and 2011 with grey symbols & line (y = 0.0084x−0.088). Riverplains are shown with squares and grassland/heathland with circles.
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pone.0131395.g002: Effect of distance to Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the proportion of successful pairs.2010 is shown with black symbols & line (y = 0.0035x + 0.455) and 2011 with grey symbols & line (y = 0.0084x−0.088). Riverplains are shown with squares and grassland/heathland with circles.

Mentions: Breeding densities and the densities of pairs with chicks were considerably reduced after 2009 and 2010 (Fig 1). There was significant effect of both distance from volcano and year on the proportion of successful breeders but not of habitat which was therefore omitted from the final model (Table 3). There was also a significant effect of the interaction between distance and year between 2010 and 2011 with the drop in success more pronounced nearer the volcano (Fig 2, Table 3).


The Effects of Habitat Type and Volcanic Eruptions on the Breeding Demography of Icelandic Whimbrels Numenius phaeopus.

Katrínardóttir B, Alves JA, Sigurjónsdóttir H, Hersteinsson P, Gunnarsson TG - PLoS ONE (2015)

Effect of distance to Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the proportion of successful pairs.2010 is shown with black symbols & line (y = 0.0035x + 0.455) and 2011 with grey symbols & line (y = 0.0084x−0.088). Riverplains are shown with squares and grassland/heathland with circles.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4498681&req=5

pone.0131395.g002: Effect of distance to Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the proportion of successful pairs.2010 is shown with black symbols & line (y = 0.0035x + 0.455) and 2011 with grey symbols & line (y = 0.0084x−0.088). Riverplains are shown with squares and grassland/heathland with circles.
Mentions: Breeding densities and the densities of pairs with chicks were considerably reduced after 2009 and 2010 (Fig 1). There was significant effect of both distance from volcano and year on the proportion of successful breeders but not of habitat which was therefore omitted from the final model (Table 3). There was also a significant effect of the interaction between distance and year between 2010 and 2011 with the drop in success more pronounced nearer the volcano (Fig 2, Table 3).

Bottom Line: Estimating variation in those rates is key for developing successful conservation strategies.We found that an estimated minimum of 23% of the Icelandic population of Whimbrels and c. 10% of the world population of the species breed in riverplain habitats in Iceland.Predation by livestock may have had a considerable negative effect on breeding success on our study sites.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Ecology Department, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Gardabaer, Iceland; South Iceland Research Centre, University of Iceland, Selfoss/Gunnarsholt, Iceland.

ABSTRACT
Distinct preference of species for habitats is most often driven by long term differences in demographic rates between habitats. Estimating variation in those rates is key for developing successful conservation strategies. Stochastic events can interact with underlying variation in habitat quality in regulating demography but the opportunities to explore such interactions are rare. Whimbrels in Iceland show a strong preference for sparsely vegetated riverplains. Such habitats in Iceland face various threats, e.g., climate change, river regulation and spread of alien plant species. In this study we compared demographic parameters of breeding Whimbrels between riverplains and other habitats before, during and after volcanic eruption events to estimate the importance of the habitats for the species and the effect of ash deposit on breeding success. We found that an estimated minimum of 23% of the Icelandic population of Whimbrels and c. 10% of the world population of the species breed in riverplain habitats in Iceland. Whimbrels bred consistently at much higher densities in riverplain habitats than in other habitats and riverplains also had higher densities of pairs with fledglings although the proportion of successful breeders was similar between habitats. Predation by livestock may have had a considerable negative effect on breeding success on our study sites. Breeding was negatively affected by the volcanic activity, probably through the effects of ash on the invertebrate food supply, with breeding success being gradually worse closer to the eruption. Breeding success was equally affected by volcanism across habitats which differed in underlying habitat quality. This study gives an example of how populations can be regulated by factors which operate at different spatial scales, such as local variation in habitat quality and stochastic events which impact larger areas.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus