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 Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>