Publications

Publications

1) Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Continent-wide Tracking to Determine Migratory Connectivity and Tropical Habitat Associations of a Declining Aerial Insectivore (The article appears below)

2) The AUK:
Consistent Range-wide Pattern in Fall Migration Strategy of Purple Martin (Progne subis), Despite Different Migration Routes at the Gulf of Mexico (Click the link at the bottom of the page to view the article)

3) PLOS ONE:
A Trans-Hemispheric Migratory Songbird Does Not Advance Spring Schedules or Increase Migration Rate inResponse to Record-Setting Temperatures at Breeding Sites (Clink the link at the bottom of the page to be directed to the article)

The research required a collaboration of people.  I am very honored to be one of them. 

As mentioned in the  'About Geolocators' page of my website,  northern populations of aerial insectivores are in steep decline. Although some research has been done (ie: on insect populations), there has been no concrete answer to explain the high rate of decline.  This led scientists to speculate that perhaps differences in the declining northern populations and the stable southern populations may have more to do with the wintering grounds vs. the summer breeding grounds.  Perhaps the northern birds migrate to an area which experienced a higher use of toxic pesticides, than the southern birds.

This logical deduction remained intact until now.

With the advent of tiny light-reading devices which can fit on the backs of songbirds, we are now able to track actual migration, timing, routes and wintering grounds.

Although this research pertains specifically to Purple Martins (an aerial insectivore experiencing declines in its northern populations), it sheds great light about the wintering grounds of northern populations vs. southern populations. 

The decline of long distance migratory songbirds has been linked to an increasing mismatch between spring arrival date and timing of food availability caused by climate change.  In 2012, during the hottest spring on record in eastern North America, we tracked the spring migration of 52 Purple Martins from their wintering grounds in the Amazon basin to their breeding colonies in PA and VA.  Contrary to predictions, this did not result in earlier departure, faster migration, or earlier arrival at breeding areas compared with earlier years. Our results provide the first direct evidence for a mismatch between higher spring temperatures at breeding sites and departure schedules of  individual songbirds.

There are many important questions yet to be answered. Questions regarding the ability to adapt to climate change or the relationship between genetics and migration can only be answered through additional and repeated tracking.  Geolocators are expensive and funding is limited.  Please help fund future research by either direct donation or purchasing jewelry from my store located on this website.


Here is the link to the PLOS ONE article:

http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0064587

Here is the link to The Auk article:

Fraseretal_PUMAfallmigration_AUK_2.pdf
377.9 KB
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