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Alstrom P.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Alstrom P.,Swedish Museum of Natural History | Davidson P.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Davidson P.,Pacific Wildlife Research Center | And 7 more authors.
Ibis | Year: 2010

A new species of Phylloscopus warbler, which we name Phylloscopus calciatilis Limestone Leaf Warbler, is described from central and northern Vietnam and central and northern Laos; it probably also breeds in southernmost China. In morphology, the new species is very similar to Sulphur-breasted Warbler Phylloscopus ricketti, but it is smaller with a proportionately larger bill and rounder wing. Its song and calls are diagnostic. Based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, the new species is most closely related to P. ricketti and Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator, and it is inferred to be sister to the latter. The mitochondrial divergences between these three species are at the low end of the variation found in other species of Phylloscopus and Seicercus warblers, but greater than in other taxa generally treated as subspecies. Possible introgressive hybridization between the new species and P. ricketti is discussed, but more data are needed to establish whether it does occur and, if it does, to what extent. The new species appears to have a restricted breeding range in limestone karst environments, where it is locally common and therefore not under any immediate threat. In view of the recognition of the new species, all previous records of P. ricketti sensu lato need to be re-evaluated. © 2009 British Ornithologists' Union.

Jardine C.B.,Pacific Wildlife Research Center | Bond A.L.,University of Saskatchewan | Bond A.L.,Center for Conservation Science | Davidson P.J.A.,Pacific Wildlife Research Center | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Many shorebird species undertake long-distance migrations punctuated by brief stays at food-rich, estuarine stopover locations. Understanding use of these food resources helps guide conservation and responsible development decisions. We determined the extent and degree to which Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) utilized biofilm as a food resource across a large and variable stopover location during northward (spring) migration.We investigated the spatial heterogeneity in diet composition, to determine whether shorebirds were consistently feeding on biofilm or whether diet varied between naturally and anthropogenically delineated sites. We used stable isotope analysis to estimate that biofilm conservatively comprised 22% to 53% of Western Sandpiper droppings across all sampling sites and that prey composition differed significantly between areas within the stopover location. Widespread biofilm consumption demonstrates the importance of biofilm as a dietary component. Variable diet composition suggests that habitat heterogeneity may be an important component of high quality stopover locations in the context of "state-dependant trade-offs" of Western Sandpiper population sub-groups. Future management decisions must consider and address potential impacts on the biofilm community throughout a stopover location, as single site studies of diet composition may not be adequate to develop effective management strategies for entire stopover sites. ©2015 Jardine et al.

Vilchis L.I.,University of California at Davis | Vilchis L.I.,University of California at San Diego | Johnson C.K.,University of California at Davis | Evenson J.R.,Wildlife Research Division | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2015

Identifying drivers of ecosystem change in large marine ecosystems is central for their effective management and conservation. This is a sizable challenge, particularly in ecosystems transcending international borders, where monitoring and conservation of long-range migratory species and their habitats are logistically and financially problematic. Here, using tools borrowed from epidemiology, we elucidated common drivers underlying species declines within a marine ecosystem, much in the way epidemiological analyses evaluate risk factors for negative health outcomes to better inform decisions. Thus, we identified ecological traits and dietary specializations associated with species declines in a community of marine predators that could be reflective of ecosystem change. To do so, we integrated count data from winter surveys collected in long-term marine bird monitoring programs conducted throughout the Salish Sea-a transboundary large marine ecosystem in North America's Pacific Northwest. We found that decadal declines in winter counts were most prevalent among pursuit divers such as alcids (Alcidae) and grebes (Podicipedidae) that have specialized diets based on forage fish, and that wide-ranging species without local breeding colonies were more prone to these declines. Although a combination of factors is most likely driving declines of diving forage fish specialists, we propose that changes in the availability of low-trophic prey may be forcing wintering range shifts of diving birds in the Salish Sea. Such a synthesis of long-term trends in a marine predator community not only provides unique insights into the types of species that are at risk of extirpation and why, but may also inform proactive conservation measures to counteract threats-information that is paramount for species-specific and ecosystem-wide conservation. © 2014 The Authors.

Hope D.D.,Simon Fraser University | Lank D.B.,Simon Fraser University | Smith B.D.,Simon Fraser University | Smith B.D.,Pacific Wildlife Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Avian Biology | Year: 2011

The effects of relative fuel load on migration speed and on vulnerability have been investigated, but the effects of seasonal variation in predation danger on the amount of fuel and duration of stopover have not been considered. We analyzed seasonal patterns of stopover residence times for western and semipalmated sandpipers Calidris mauri and C. pusilla on southward migration in relation to the passage of migratory peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus. We predicted that individuals on stopover far in advance of the seasonal arrival of falcons would adjust stopover length and hence relative fuel load to migrate slowly and cautiously. We predicted that individuals on stopover later in the season would increase migratory speed as the arrival of migratory falcons came closer, while individuals on stopover under or behind the passage of falcons would migrate slowly. Adult and juvenile semipalmated and adult western sandpipers migrated prior to seasonal increases in peregrine abundance, and as predicted, the seasonal patterns of their stopover durations are consistent with an increase in the speed of migration as the date of peregrine arrival approached. Juvenile western sandpipers, in contrast, migrating concurrently with falcons, slowed their speed of migration as predator abundance increased. Stopover patterns differ between species due to different relative fuel loads. The results fit predictions made based on a 'mortality-minimizing' migration strategy. © 2011 The Authors.

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