Using Light-Level Geolocation to Investigate the Carry-Over Effects of Long-Distance Migration on the Reproductive Success of Dunlin (Calidris Alpina Hudsonia)
Wright, Leah Lynn
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Avian migration strategies can have lasting effects on individual fitness in subsequent seasons. These carry-over effects are difficult to study in migratory species because of the geographical separation between breeding and non-breeding sites. I used light-level geolocation to examine, for the first time, how individual spring migration strategy affects reproductive success in a subarctic-nesting shorebird. I showed that female Dunlin (Calidris alpina) breeding in Churchill, MB laid eggs of increased volume after migrating longer distances at decreased speeds. Nest survival increased for female Dunlin that migrated longer distances along less direct routes, but the opposite relationship was found for males. There was no evidence for effects of timing of arrival or migration duration on reproductive success. This research highlights the potential fitness consequences of different migration strategies and will be imperative for informing full life-cycle conservation for subarctic-nesting shorebirds.