Shining a Light on Coastal Light Pollution

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Dogwhelks on the rocky shore. ©Martin Talbot.

The creation of artificial light has dramatically changed the natural environment.  Light pollution from buildings, vehicles and streetlights has the potential to alter the behaviour of many animals.  An iconic example involves the disorientation of hatchling turtles; normally guided to the sea by natural light, the baby turtles instead end up on beach promenades, hotel grounds, and busy roads.  Now new research published in Journal of Animal Ecology has discovered that other, less well-known marine species are also affected – with the potential for dramatic consequences. Continue reading

What will the wasp plague be like this year?

This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “The long-term population dynamics of common wasps in their native and invaded” by Phil Lester et al.

New research from Victoria University of Wellington has revealed the population of the common wasp is amplified by spring weather, with warmer and drier springs often meaning more wasps and wasp stings in summer. Continue reading

Earlier nesting by generalist predatory bird is associated with human responses to climate change

robpbk9o2086-editThis post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Earlier nesting by generalist predatory bird is associated with human responses to climate change by Shawn H. Smith et al.

Milder winters have led to earlier growing seasons and noticeable effects on the breeding habits of some predatory birds, according to research by Boise State biologists Shawn Smith and Julie Heath, in collaboration with Karen Steenhof, and The Peregrine Fund’s Christopher McClure. Continue reading

Competitive males are a blessing and a curse

jae-2016-00123-r2-2This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Sexual selection can both increase and decrease extinction probability: reconciling demographic and evolutionary factors” by Carlos Martínez-Ruiz and Robert J. Knell Issued by Queen Mary, University of London Press Office.

Showy ornaments used by the male of the species in competition for mates, such as the long tail of a peacock or shaggy mane of a lion, could indicate a species’ risk of decline in a changing climate, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Continue reading

Research into extreme weather effects may explain recent butterfly decline

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Common Blue butterfly. Photo by Dr Aldina Franco.

This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Sensitivity of UK butterflies to local climatic extremes: which life stages are most at risk?” by Osgur McDermott Long et al. Issued by University of East Anglia.

 

Increasingly frequent extreme weather events could threaten butterfly populations in the UK and could be the cause of recently reported butterfly population crashes, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Researchers investigated the impact of Extreme Climatic Events (ECEs) on butterfly populations. The study shows that the impact can be significantly positive and negative, but questions remain as to whether the benefits outweigh the negative effects.

While it is well known that changes to the mean climate can affect ecosystems, little is known about the impact of short-term extreme climatic events (ECEs) such as heatwaves, heavy rainfall or droughts. Continue reading

Drifting birds of prey use predictable winds during migration

European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus soaring in the wind.

European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus soaring in the wind.

This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Seasonal detours by soaring migrants shaped by wind regimes along the East Atlantic Flyway” by Wouter M. G. Vansteelant et al. Issued by University of Amsterdam.

Birds of prey let themselves be carried by predictable winds
At the start of autumn, several billion migratory birds take flight for a long, adventurous journey to Africa. How do they manage to complete this difficult journey successfully year after year? To find out, a team of researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) tracked the behaviour of migrating European honey buzzards using small GPS backpacks. They combined GPS data with meteorological models to show how these migratory birds travel via complicated detours to make use of predictable weather patterns. They do so especially over the Sahara Desert, an inhospitable landscape they need to cross as quickly as possible. Continue reading

Salmon smolts find safety in numbers

JAE-2015-00769.R2This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Predator swamping reduces predation risk during nocturnal migration of juvenile salmon in a high-mortality landscape” by Nathan B. Furey et al. Press release issued by The University of British Colombia

Using tags surgically implanted into thousands of juvenile salmon, University of British Colombia researchers have discovered that many fish die within the first few days of migration from their birthplace to the ocean. Continue reading

Baby fish breathe easier around large predators

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Small – hungry mesopredator common on coral reefs. Photo: C.E. Mirbach

This blog post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Top predators negate the effect of mesopredators on prey physiology” by Maria M. Palacios et al. Press release issued by by James Cook University & ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral reef Studies

Scientists have discovered that the presence of large fish predators can reduce stress on baby fish.

The researchers – from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University and the University of Glasgow- have found that physiological stress on baby fish can be reduced by more than a third if large predatory fish are around to scare off smaller, hungry predators, known as mesopredators. Continue reading

Accurate timing of migration prolongs life expectancy in pike

This blog post is a press release from the authors of the Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Causes and consequences of repeatability, flexibility and individual fine-tuning of migratory timing in pike” by Petter Tibblin published today. Press release issued by Linnaeus University

Animal migration is a spectacular phenomenon that has fascinated humans for a long time. It is widely assumed that appropriate timing of migratory events is crucial for survival, but the causes and consequences of individual variation in timing are poorly understood. New research based on migrating pike in the Baltic Sea and published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Animal Ecology reveals how behaviours such as punctuality, flexibility and fine-tuning influence life expectancy in fish. Continue reading