Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Journal or Book Title
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Environmental stochasticity encountered during migration can have negative consequences for individuals and population demographics through direct reductions in survival or cross-seasonal impacts. We took advantage of substantial interannual variation in spring migration conditions over a 4 year field study to examine physiological and dietary variation among two species of migrant ducks. We collected female Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis (Eyton, 1838)) and Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors (Linnaeus, 1766)) during spring migration and measured lipid and protein reserves, an index of recent lipid metabolism based on concentrations of lipid metabolites in plasma, and diets. We documented systematic interannual variation among these metrics in both species, contrasting primarily the warmest, earliest spring and the coldest, latest spring. Lesser Scaup had reduced lipid and protein reserves and consumed less energy-rich prey during the coldest and latest spring but showed no interannual variation in the index of lipid metabolism. Blue-winged Teal similarly had reduced protein reserves in the cold, late spring but maintained constant lipid reserves among years, likely facilitated by increased consumption of energy-rich seeds reflected in diets and lipid metabolism. Our results reveal impacts of environmental stochasticity on migrants and suggest that recruitment may be impacted by variable conditions encountered during migration during extreme weather events.
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Janke, Adam K.; Anteau, Michael J.; and Stafford, Joshua D., "Extreme climatic variability during migration invokes physiological and dietary plasticity among spring migrating ducks" (2019). Natural Resource Ecology and Management Publications. 318.