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  • 1. Lindstrom, Ake
    et al.
    Gill, Robert E., Jr.
    Jamieson, Sarah E.
    McCaffery, Brian
    Wennerberg, Liv
    Wikelski, Martin
    Klaassen, Marcel
    A PUZZLING MIGRATORY DETOUR: ARE FUELING CONDITIONS IN ALASKA DRIVING THE MOVEMENT OF JUVENILE SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS?2011In: The Condor, ISSN 0010-5422, E-ISSN 1938-5129, Vol. 113, no 1, p. 129-139Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Making a detour can be advantageous to a migrating bird if fuel-deposition rates at stopover sites along the detour are considerably higher than at stopover sites along a more direct route. One example of an extensive migratory detour is that of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata), of which large numbers of juveniles are found during fall migration in western Alaska. These birds take a detour of 1500-3400 km from the most direct route between their natal range in northeastern Siberia and nonbreeding areas in Australia. We studied the autumnal fueling rates and fuel loads of 357 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers captured in western Alaska. In early September the birds increased in mass at a rate of only 0.5% of lean body mass day(-1). Later in September, the rate of mass increase was about 6% of lean body mass day(-1), among the highest values found among similar-sized shorebirds around the world. Some individuals more than doubled their body mass because of fuel deposition, allowing non-stop flight of between 7100 and 9800 km, presumably including a trans-oceanic flight to the southern hemisphere. Our observations indicated that predator attacks were rare in our study area, adding another potential benefit of the detour. We conclude that the most likely reason for the Alaskan detour is that it allows juvenile Sharp-tailed Sand-pipers to put on large fuel stores at exceptionally high rates.

  • 2. Wennerberg, L
    et al.
    Klaassen, M
    Lindstrom, A
    Geographical variation and population structure in the White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis as shown by morphology, mitochondrial DNA and carbon isotope ratios2002In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 131, no 3, p. 380-390Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We studied the population structure of a high arctic breeding wader bird species, the White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis. Breeding adults, chicks and juveniles were sampled at seven localities throughout the species' breeding range in arctic Canada in 1999. The mitochondrial control region was analysed by DNA sequencing, feathers were analysed for carbon isotope ratios (C-13/C-12) by isotope ratio mass spectrometry, and morphological measurements were analysed using principal component analyses. taking the effect of sex into account (identified by molecular genetic methods). In general. our results support the notion that the White-rumped Sandpiper is a monotypic species with no subspecies, and most of the morphological and genetic variation occurs within sites. Nevertheless. some differences between sites were found. Birds from the two northernmost sites (Ellesmere and Devon Islands) had relatively longer bill and wing and shorter tarsus than birds sampled further south, possibly reflecting genetic differences between populations. The carbon isotope ratios were higher at the easternmost site (Baffin Island), revealing differences in the isotope content of the food. The mtDNA sequences showed no significant differentiation between sites and no pattern of isolation-by-distance was found. Based on the mtDNA variation, the species was estimated to have a long-term effective population size of approximately 9,000 females. The species shows no clear evidence of any population expansion or decline. Our results indicate that carbon isotope ratios, and possibly also certain mtDNA haplotypes, may be useful as tools for identifying the breeding origin of White-rumped Sandpipers on migration and wintering sites.

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