Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 541712
Title Body stores persist as fitness correlate in a long-distance migrant released from food constraints
Author(s) Dokter, Adriaan M.; Fokkema, Wimke; Bekker, Steven K.; Bouten, Willem; Ebbinge, Barwolt S.; Müskens, Gerard; Olff, Han; Jeugd, Henk P. van der; Nolet, Bart A.
Source Behavioral Ecology 29 (2018)5. - ISSN 1045-2249 - p. 1157 - 1166.
Department(s) Alterra - Animal ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) arctic waterfowl - carry-over effects - cultivated grassland - GPS tracking - migratory fueling - recruitment

Long-distance migratory birds rely on the acquisition of body stores to fuel their migration and reproduction. Breeding success depends on the amount of body stores acquired prior to migration, which is thought to increase with access to food at the fueling site. Here, we studied how food abundance during fueling affected time budgets and reproductive success. In a regime of plenty, we expected that 1) limitations on food harvesting would become lifted, allowing birds to frequently idle, and 2) birds would reach sufficient fuel loads, such that departure weight would no longer affect reproductive success. Our study system comprised brent geese (Branta b. bernicla) staging on high-quality agricultural pastures. Fueling conditions were assessed by a combination of high-resolution GPS tracking, acceleration-based behavioral classification, thermoregulation modeling, and measurements of food digestibility and excretion rates. Mark-resighting analysis was used to test for correlations between departure weight and offspring recruitment. Our results confirm that birds loafed extensively, actively postponed fueling in early spring, and took frequent digestion pauses, suggesting that traditional time constraints on harvest and fueling rates are absent on modern-day fertilized grasslands. Nonetheless, departure weight remained correlated with recruitment success. The persistence of this correlation after a prolonged stopover with access to abundant high-quality food, suggests that between-individual differences in departure condition are not so much enforced by food quality and availability during stopover, but reflect individual quality and longer-lived life-history traits, such as health status and digestive capacity, which may be developed before the fueling period.

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