Date: November 8, 2018
Source: University of Bath
Climate change could be responsible for a substantial decline in populations of shorebirds, say researchers from the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, following a study published in Science analysing population data over a period of 70 years.
Historically, the rates of nest predation -- eggs being stolen from nests by predators -- are higher in the tropics, presumably due to higher variability of potential predators.
To counter this, shorebirds such as plovers and sandpipers migrate to the Arctic to lay their eggs as a safe place in which to build their nests and raise their young. Tropical birds, on the other hand, tend to have longer lifespans and longer periods of seasonal reproduction so their populations can generally withstand higher nest predation.
However an international team of researchers, including researchers from the Universities of Bath and Sheffield, have found that rates of daily nest predation in the Arctic have increased threefold in the last 70 years.