Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Long-distance travels complicate conservation of migratory birds


Migratory birds are influenced by environmental factors in different parts of the world, which could make them particularly vulnerable to global change. In a study published in Nature Climate Change, HU researcher Damaris Zurell together with collaborators now shows that ignoring seasonal migration could misguide conservation targets.

Migratory birds have fascinated humans for centuries. Every year, millions of individuals travel between their summer breeding grounds and their wintering ranges, often over several thousand kilometres. Migrants thus experience environmental conditions in different parts of the world.

For example, breeding success and population trends of Central European migrants do not depend on local environmental conditions alone. Also, unfavourable conditions in the wintering grounds or during the migration can have detrimental effects on the breeding populations. These issues have been widely acknowledged. Still, impact assessments primarily focus on breeding ranges.

Now, a HU researcher together with colleagues from Switzerland, France and South Africa, have assessed potential large-scale impacts from climate and land cover change on migratory birds.

They analysed over 700 long-distance migratory bird species breeding in the Holarctic and estimated potential global change risks resulting from summer range loss, winter range loss, and from increased migratory distance between seasonal ranges.

The results indicated that these different risks are largely independent from each other and their magnitudes also vary between continents. This means that only assessing potential summer range loss will provide a rather incomplete picture of the global change risks that migratory birds may face.

The researchers further calculated that impact assessments focussing on summer ranges alone could underestimate the number of potentially threatened species by 18-49% and underestimate the potential impact from multiple risks for 17-50% species. Also, many species that could suffer multiple global change risks are not currently listed by the IUCN as threatened or near threatened.

These results provide a first indication how neglecting seasonal ranges in impact assessments could misguide conservation targets, both spatially and at the species level. Hopefully, this global assessment will inspire more detailed work taking into account the full annual cycle and complex behaviour of migratory species.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Damaris Zurell
Geography Department
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Zurell, D., Graham, C.H., Gallien, L., Thuiller, W., Zimmermann, N.E.. Long-distance migratory birds threatened by multiple independent risks from global change. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0312-9

Boris Nitzsche | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Turbulence creates ice in clouds
08.11.2019 | Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung e. V.

nachricht Manganese nodules: project on environmental impact during deep sea mining
08.11.2019 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

Im Focus: A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'

The algorithm represents a first step in the automated learning of quantum information networks

Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...

Im Focus: Distorted Atoms

In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.

An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...

Im Focus: A Memory Effect at Single-Atom Level

An international research group has observed new quantum properties on an artificial giant atom and has now published its results in the high-ranking journal Nature Physics. The quantum system under investigation apparently has a memory - a new finding that could be used to build a quantum computer.

The research group, consisting of German, Swedish and Indian scientists, has investigated an artificial quantum system and found new properties.

Im Focus: Shedding new light on the charging of lithium-ion batteries

Exposing cathodes to light decreases charge time by a factor of two in lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reported a new mechanism to speed up the charging of lithium-ion...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

Smart lasers open up new applications and are the “tool of choice” in digitalization

30.10.2019 | Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

Latest News

Magnets for the second dimension

12.11.2019 | Machine Engineering

New efficiency world record for organic solar modules

12.11.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Non-volatile control of magnetic anisotropy through change of electric polarization

12.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>