Breeding flexibility helps migratory songbirds adjust to climate warming

 

 

A Dartmouth-led study finds that the black-throated blue warbler, a common migratory songbird, has a natural flexibility in its breeding time that has helped stave off the impact of climate warming on its food availability, at least for now. redit: Trisha Shears

Breeding flexibility helps migratory songbirds adjust to climate warming

Posted: 13 Nov 2015 02:11 AM PST

Phenological mismatches, or a mistiming between creatures and the prey and plants they eat, is one of the biggest known impacts of climate change on ecological systems. But a new study finds that one common migratory songbird has a natural flexibility in its breeding time that has helped stave off mismatches, at least for now.

The results suggest this flexibility provides a buffer against climate warming for the black-throated blue warbler in eastern North America and potentially for other migratory forest birds in temperate zones, but such resilience probably has limits. The study appears in the journal Oikos. The research included scientists from Dartmouth College, Norwegian Institute of Nature Research, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Wellesley College. “Understanding the effects of climate warming on ecological systems is critical for the conservation of forest bird species and their habitats,” says lead author Nina Lany, who conducted the study as part of her doctoral degree at Dartmouth and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Michigan State University….

 

Nina K. Lany, M. P. Ayres, Erik E. Stange, T. Scotty Sillett, Nicholas L. Rodenhouse, Richard T. Holmes. Breeding timed to maximize reproductive success for a migratory songbird: the importance of phenological asynchrony. Oikos, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/oik.02412

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *