Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Northern birds make better mates

21.10.2005


Joint press release: Natural Environment Research Council and Queen’s University Belfast



Research from Queen’s University Belfast, published today in the journal Science, has given new meaning to the ‘north-south divide’. It has shown that one breed of European songbird is bucking the trend to travel south for the winter and is opting to migrate to the chillier climes of Britain and Ireland instead. The research also indicates that birds over-wintering in the British Isles produce larger clutches and more young than those migrating further south.

Led by Dr Stuart Bearhop, from the University’s School of Biological and Food Sciences, the researchers analysed the chemical patterns in toenails clipped from migrating blackcaps in a bid to find out what they had been eating - and hence find where they had been spending the winter.


Dr Bearhop said, "It has proved very difficult to investigate the reasons behind this change because these birds are hard to follow all year around. By analysing the chemical patterns in toenail clippings my team has been able to discover where the birds arriving at their summer breeding grounds in Austria and Germany have spent the winter.”

"We found that birds which spent the winter in Britain are more successful breeders than their counterparts which travelled to southern Iberia and North Africa - the more usual winter habitats for the blackcaps. We also found that the ’British’ birds tend to arrive on the breeding grounds earlier than the southern ones, allowing them to gain access to the best territories - a bit like getting their towels on the best sun-loungers first," he said.

The research uncovered a new migration and mating pattern for these birds, finding that blackcaps that head north for the winter are more likely to mate with each other during the summer breeding season than with birds that winter in the south. Known as assortative mating, this could shed new light on the gradual evolution of species.

Dr Bearhop believes that the results also indicate a way in which migratory species can respond to climate change.

"Our findings may provide hope for some species since such migratory shifts may be one way in which birds might find more suitable conditions in which to breed or spend the winter," he said.

Funding for the research was provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The research team includes colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center, Universities of Glasgow and Plymouth.

Marion O’Sullivan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nerc.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>