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Roberts B.E.I.,Manchester Metropolitan University | Harris W.E.,Manchester Metropolitan University | Hilton G.M.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust | Marsden S.J.,Manchester Metropolitan University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Demographic data are important to wildlife managers to gauge population health, to allow populations to be utilised sustainably, and to inform conservation efforts. We analysed published demographic data on the world's wildfowl to examine taxonomic and geographic biases in study, and to identify gaps in knowledge. Wildfowl (order: Anseriformes) are a comparatively well studied bird group which includes 169 species of duck, goose and swan. In all, 1,586 wildfowl research papers published between 1911 and 2010 were found using Web of Knowledge (WoK) and Google Scholar. Over half of the research output involved just 15 species from seven genera. Research output was strongly biased towards 'high income' countries, common wildfowl species, and measures of productivity, rather than survival and movement patterns. There were significantly fewer demographic data for the world's 31 threatened wildfowl species than for non-threatened species. Since 1994, the volume of demographic work on threatened species has increased more than for nonthreatened species, but still makes up only 2.7% of total research output. As an aid to research prioritisation, a metric was created to reflect demographic knowledge gaps for each species related to research output for the species, its threat status, and availability of potentially useful surrogate data from congeneric species. According to the metric, the 25 highest priority species include thirteen threatened taxa and nine species each from Asia and South America, and six from Africa. © 2016 Roberts et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Davis J.B.,Mississippi State University | Guillemain M.,Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage | Kaminski R.M.,Mississippi State University | Arzel C.,University of Turku | And 2 more authors.
Wildfowl | Year: 2014

A particular aim of avian ecologists, especially those studying waterfowl Anatidae, in the 20th and early 21st centuries has been to elucidate how organisms use habitats and intrinsic resources to survive, reproduce and ultimately affect fitness. For much of the 20th century, research was mainly on studying species during the breeding season; however, by the 1970s, the focus had changed to understanding migratory waterfowl throughout their annual cycle and range in Europe and North America. Autumn and winter are considered the non-breeding seasons, but habitat and resource use through these seasons is crucial for completing spring migration and subsequent breeding. Here we review the literature on autumnal and winter habitat use by Nearctic and Palearctic waterfowl to determine characteristics of important landscapes and habitats for the birds during autumn migration and in winter. Selection of habitats and resources is discussed (when literature permits) in relation to Johnson's (1980) model of hierarchical habitat selection. Habitat use by selected species or groups of waterfowl is also reviewed, and important areas for future research into habitat ecology are identified. We suggest that the greatest lack of understanding of waterfowl habitat selection is an ongoing inability to determine what habitats and intrinsic resources, at multiple scales, are truly available to birds, an essential metric in quantifying "selection" accurately. Other significant challenges that impede gaining knowledge of waterfowl ecology in the northern hemisphere are also described. Nonetheless, continued technological improvements and engagement of diverse interdisciplinary professional expertise will further refine understanding of waterfowl ecology and conservation at continental scales. © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Source

Green R.E.,University of Cambridge | Pain D.J.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Food and Chemical Toxicology | Year: 2012

We estimate potential risks to human health in the UK from dietary exposure to lead from wild gamebirds killed by shooting. The main source of exposure to lead in Europe is now dietary. We used data on lead concentrations in UK gamebirds, from which gunshot had been removed following cooking to simulate human exposure to lead. We used UK food consumption and lead concentration data to evaluate the number of gamebird meals consumed weekly that would be expected, based upon published studies, to result in changes, over and above those resulting from exposure to lead in the base diet, in intelligence quotient (IQ), Systolic Blood Pressure and chronic kidney disease (CKD) considered in a recent opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to be significant at a population level and also in SAT test scores and in rates of spontaneous abortion. We found the consumption of <1 meal of game a week may be associated with a one point reduction in IQ in children and 1.2-6.5 gamebird meals per week may be associated with the other effects. These results should help to inform the development of appropriate responses to the risks from ingesting lead from ammunition in game in the UK and European Union (EU). © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Harrison X.A.,University of Exeter | Harrison X.A.,UK Institute of Zoology | Hodgson D.J.,University of Exeter | Inger R.,University of Exeter | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

In many animals, processes occurring in one season carry over to influence reproductive success and survival in future seasons. The strength of such carry-over effects is unlikely to be uniform across years, yet our understanding of the processes that are capable of modifying their strength remains limited. Here we show that female light-bellied Brent geese with higher body mass prior to spring migration successfully reared more offspring during breeding, but only in years where environmental conditions during breeding were favourable. In years of bad weather during breeding, all birds suffered reduced reproductive output irrespective of pre-migration mass. Our results suggest that the magnitude of reproductive benefits gained by maximising body stores to fuel breeding fluctuates markedly among years in concert with conditions during the breeding season, as does the degree to which carry-over effects are capable of driving variance in reproductive success among individuals. Therefore while carry-over effects have considerable power to drive fitness asymmetries among individuals, our ability to interpret these effects in terms of their implications for population dynamics is dependent on knowledge of fitness determinants occurring in subsequent seasons. © 2013 Harrison et al. Source

King R.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust | Fox A.D.,University of Aarhus
Bird Study | Year: 2012

Capsule Female Gadwall Anas strepera and male Wigeon A. penelope lost about 18% of body mass during flightless wing moult at Abberton Reservoir, southeast England - slightly greater than that recorded for other dabbling ducks but less than among Pochard Aythya ferina at the same site. Results, while consistent with the moult stress hypothesis, also support the hypothesis that dabbling ducks deplete accumulated fat stores to enable exploitation of moulting habitats that are safe from predators, but which do not enable these ducks to balance their energy budgets during the flightless period. © 2012 British Trust for Ornithology. Source

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