Annual movements of a migratory seabird-the NW European red-throated diver (Gavia stellata)-reveals high individual repeatability but low migratory connectivity.

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From: Marine Biology(Vol. 169, Issue 9)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Report
Length: 13,628 words
Lexile Measure: 1570L

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Abstract :

In this study, the annual movements of a seabird species, the red-throated diver (Gavia stellata), were investigated in space and time. Between 2015 and 2017, 33 individuals were fitted with satellite transmitters at the German Bight (eastern North Sea). In addition, stable isotope analyses of feathers ([delta].sup.13C) were used to identify staging areas during the previous moult. The German Bight is an important area for this species, but is also strongly affected by anthropogenic impacts. To understand how this might affect populations, we aimed to determine the degree of connectivity and site fidelity, and the extent to which seasonal migrations vary among different breeding locations in the high Arctic. Tagged individuals migrated to Greenland (n = 2), Svalbard (n = 2), Norway (n = 4) and northern Russia (n = 25). Although individuals from a shared breeding region (northern Russia) largely moved along the same route, individuals dispersed to different, separate areas during the non-breeding phase. Kernel density estimates also overlapped only partially, indicating low connectivity. The timing of breeding was correlated with the breeding longitude, with 40 days later arrival at the easternmost than westernmost breeding sites. Repeatability analyses between years revealed a generally high individual site fidelity with respect to spring staging, breeding and moulting sites. In summary, low connectivity and the distribution to different sites suggests some resilience to population decline among subpopulations. However, it should be noted that the majority of individuals breeding in northern Russia migrated along a similar route and that disturbance in areas visited along this route could have a greater impact on this population. In turn, individual site fidelity could indicate low adaptability to environmental changes and could lead to potential carry-over effects. Annual migration data indicate that conservation planning must consider all sites used by such mobile species.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A714744505