Rapid population decline in migratory shorebirds relying on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats as stopover sites

Studds, Colin E., Kendall, Bruce E., Murray, Nicholas J., Wilson, Howard B., Rogers, Danny I., Clemens, Robert S., Gosbell, Ken, Hassell, Chris J., Jessop, Rosalind, Melville, David S., Milton, David A., Minton, Clive D.T., Possingham, Hugh P., Riegen, Adrian C., Straw, Phil, Woehler, Eric J., and Fuller, Richard A. (2017) Rapid population decline in migratory shorebirds relying on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats as stopover sites. Nature Communications, 8. 14895.

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Abstract

Migratory animals are threatened by human-induced global change. However, little is known about how stopover habitat, essential for refuelling during migration, affects the population dynamics of migratory species. Using 20 years of continent-wide citizen science data, we assess population trends of ten shorebird taxa that refuel on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats, a threatened ecosystem that has shrunk by >65% in recent decades. Seven of the taxa declined at rates of up to 8% per year. Taxa with the greatest reliance on the Yellow Sea as a stopover site showed the greatest declines, whereas those that stop primarily in other regions had slowly declining or stable populations. Decline rate was unaffected by shared evolutionary history among taxa and was not predicted by migration distance, breeding range size, non-breeding location, generation time or body size. These results suggest that changes in stopover habitat can severely limit migratory populations.

Item ID: 60296
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Keywords: conservation biology; population dynamics; wetlands ecology
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2017. Open Access: this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Queensland Wader Study Group, Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (QDEHP), Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage, Port of Brisbane Corporation
Projects and Grants: ARC Linkage grant LP100200418
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 07:30
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 20%
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