Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Horseshoe crab decline threatens shorebird species

22.02.2006


Each year, the red knot, a medium-sized shorebird, makes a 20,000-mile round-trip from the southern tip of Argentina to the Artic Circle – one of the longest migrations of any bird. And each year from April to June, the red knot stops over in the Delaware Bay to feed on horseshoe crab eggs resulting from the largest spawning of horseshoe crabs found on the East Coast of the United States.



Researchers from Virginia Tech and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife have documented a reduction in the number of red knot birds throughout the Delaware Bay tied to a decline in horseshoe crabs.

The research will be reported in The Journal of Wildlife Management, in the article, "Horseshoe Crab Eggs Determine Red Knot Distribution in Delaware Bay Habitats," by Virginia Tech fisheries and wildlife research scientist Sarah Karpanty, professor Jim Fraser, and associate professor Jim Berkson, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists Lawrence Niles and Amanda Dey, and Virginia Tech statistics professor Eric Smith. The article provides scientifically defensible information for wildlife management officials as well as for other members of the scientific community.


During their Delaware Bay stopover, the red knot nearly doubles its body mass as it gorges itself almost exclusively on horseshoe crab eggs. The purpose of this feeding frenzy is to ensure that the shorebirds have enough energy to complete the trip north to their breeding ground in the Artic.

However, due to horseshoe crab’s popularity as bait used by fishermen, the crabs appear to be in serious decline. At the same time, there has been a great reduction in the total population of red knots, the report notes. "The number of horseshoe crab eggs was the most important factor determining the use of the beaches by red knots. The availability of horseshoe crab eggs was even more influential than the presence of human disturbance, predator occupation, and availability of other types of food," says Karpanty, a post-doc in the College of Natural Resources.

The red knot’s dependence on the horseshoe crab for survival has attracted the interest of local, state, and international wildlife management officials and researchers. Due to the red knot’s unusual migratory and eating behaviors, scientists from as far away as Australia frequently travel to the Delaware Bay to study this rare species.

"Biologists with the Delaware and New Jersey divisions of fish and wildlife have been very helpful during this project, and they welcome researchers from all over the world," says Fraser. "We hope to see collaborative efforts like this continue so that we can learn how to better manage wildlife resources like the red knot and horseshoe crab."

Lynn Davis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>