Spatiotemporal repeatability in migration of an arctic-breeding shorebird, the Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Principal Investigator(s):

Benjamin Lagasse


U. Colorado Denver

Project Term:

2017 - 2018

Many arctic-breeding shorebirds are declining worldwide. Reasons for these declines are likely related to direct and indirect effects of human behavior including climate-induced changes in habitat conditions and food availability on breeding, migration and wintering grounds. However, the proximate link between a changing climate and habitat degradation on population level declines is uncertain. It is also uncertain how arctic-breeding shorebirds might be adapting to these changes. Here, I propose to study plasticity in the migratory behavior of four subspecies of Dunlin (Calidris alpina) that breed in the Arctic and migrate along three major flyways of the world, including the Atlantic and Pacific flyways of North America and the East Asian-Australasian flyway of Asia. I will compare migration timing, routes, and stopover duration between individuals tracked from six breeding sites in 2010-2017, and within individuals from Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska tracked repeatedly from 2016-2020. This approach will allow me to determine the level of individual plasticity versus population-level microevolution present in the spatiotemporal migration ecologies of Dunlin from Utqiaġvik (tracks comprise 2010-2020, Table 1), and how it compares to the between-individual variation seen in Dunlin from other flyways undergoing different levels of environmental change. Such information will determine how migratory shorebirds might be
adapting to the diverse and unsynchronized changes occurring throughout their annual cycle.

Program Report: Spatiotemporal Repeatability in Migration of an Arctic-breeding Shorebird, the Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

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