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Habitat selection, nest predation and conservation biology in a Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) population
Uppsala University, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on a black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) population, consisting of 35-40 pairs, that breeds on a grazed shore meadow on SE Gotland, Sweden. The small size of the population makes it more prone to extinction due to chance events, than a larger population.

The godwits showed microhabitat preferences when choosing nest sites. Godwit nests had higher vegetation over the nest cup, lower surrounding (1-3 m) vegetation and different plant species composition, as compared to random sites. Breeding near conspecifics or other wader species, especially lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) and further away from potential predator perches were the most important factors in decreasing nest predation. A comparison between different shore meadows along the east coast of the island revealed that large, open areas suffered less from nest predation. Thus, shore meadows suitable for breeding godwits should be large and without trees or other predator perches and have a grazing regime that favours variation in vegetation height.

Over 80% of previously ringed adults returned each year, but very few birds ringed as chicks were recovered. Hatching success was 55-60% for all observed nests. To predict the future of the current population, demographic data were used in an ecological risk analysis. The simulations showed that the Gotlandic population will not survive the coming 40 years without immigration.

Black-tailed godwits are divided into three subspecies. Genetic analyses (mtDNA) revealed that all subspecies had unique haplotypes and there was a clear geographic structure among subspecies. Within the limosa subspecies, godwits on Gotland and Öland showed a high proportion of rare haplotypes, but no genetic variation was found in Dutch birds. These results imply that black-tailed godwits on Gotland and Öland have high conservation value.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2001. , p. 38
Series
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 610
Keywords [en]
Developmental biology, Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa, nest site selection, nest predation, philopatry, risk analysis
Keywords [sv]
Utvecklingsbiologi
National Category
Developmental Biology
Research subject
Population Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-610ISBN: 91-554-4958-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-610DiVA, id: diva2:167272
Public defence
2001-03-31, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9Uppsala, Uppsala, 12:00
Available from: 2001-03-10 Created: 2001-03-10Bibliographically approved

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