Impacts of extreme environmental disturbances on piping plover survival are partially moderated by migratory connectivity

Kristen S. Ellis, Michael J. Anteau, Francesca J. Cuthbert, Cheri L. Gratto-Trevor, Joel G. Jorgensen, David J. Newstead, Larkin A. Powell, Megan M. Ring, Mark H. Sherfy, Rose J. Swift, Dustin L. Toy, David N. Koons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Effective conservation for listed migratory species requires an understanding of how drivers of population decline vary spatially and temporally, as well as knowledge of range-wide connectivity between breeding and nonbreeding areas. Environmental conditions distant from breeding areas can have lasting effects on the demography of migratory species, yet these consequences are often the least understood. Our objectives were to 1) evaluate associations between survival and extreme environmental disturbances at nonbreeding areas, including hurricanes, harmful algal blooms, and oil spills, and 2) estimate migratory connectivity between breeding and nonbreeding areas of midcontinental piping plovers (Charadrius melodus). We used capture and resighting data from 5067 individuals collected between 2002 and 2019 from breeding areas across the midcontinent, and nonbreeding areas throughout the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic coasts of North America. We developed a hidden Markov multistate model to estimate seasonal survival and account for unobservable geographic locations. Hurricanes and harmful algal blooms were negatively associated with nonbreeding season survival, but we did not detect a similarly negative relationship with oil spills. Our results indicated that individuals from separate breeding areas mixed across nonbreeding areas with low migratory connectivity. Mixing among individuals in the nonbreeding season may provide a buffering effect against impacts of extreme events on any one breeding region. Our results suggest that understanding migratory connectivity and linking seasonal threats to population dynamics can better inform conservation strategies for migratory shorebirds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109371
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume264
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the many field technicians for their assistance with banding and data collection as well as private landowners, Saskatchewan Provincial Parks, and Agri-Environment Services Branch (Agriculture Canada) for allowing us to work on their property. Data collection for this study was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Missouri River Recovery Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Canadian Wildlife Service and Science and Technology Branch (Environment and Climate Change Canada), International Recovery Fund (Environment and Climate Change Canada), Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund, Nebraska State Wildlife Grant Program, sand and gravel industries in Nebraska, and Texas Parks and Wildlife. The analysis and preparation of this study was funded by the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. D.N.K. was supported by the James C. Kennedy Endowment for Wetland and Waterfowl Conservation at Colorado State University, and F.J.C. was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the University of Michigan Biological Station. Field protocols were approved by the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Animal Care and Use Committee and Environment and Climate Change Canada Western Animal Care Committee. We also want to thank the hundreds of observers from federal, state and provincial agencies, non-profits, and the general public that reported banded piping plovers across their entire range. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. None of the funders had any input into the content of the manuscript, nor required approval of the manuscript prior to submission or publication. USGS-funded data used in this study are available as a USGS data release (Ellis et al. 2021). Contact the corresponding author or individual organizations for further information. We thank S. Saunders, D. Gibson, and three anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved the overall manuscript.

Funding Information:
We thank the many field technicians for their assistance with banding and data collection as well as private landowners, Saskatchewan Provincial Parks, and Agri-Environment Services Branch (Agriculture Canada) for allowing us to work on their property. Data collection for this study was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Missouri River Recovery Program , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative , USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center , Canadian Wildlife Service and Science and Technology Branch (Environment and Climate Change Canada), International Recovery Fund (Environment and Climate Change Canada), Nebraska Environmental Trust , Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund , Nebraska State Wildlife Grant Program , sand and gravel industries in Nebraska , and Texas Parks and Wildlife . The analysis and preparation of this study was funded by the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center . D.N.K. was supported by the James C. Kennedy Endowment for Wetland and Waterfowl Conservation at Colorado State University , and F.J.C. was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the University of Michigan Biological Station. Field protocols were approved by the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Animal Care and Use Committee and Environment and Climate Change Canada Western Animal Care Committee. We also want to thank the hundreds of observers from federal, state and provincial agencies, non-profits, and the general public that reported banded piping plovers across their entire range. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. None of the funders had any input into the content of the manuscript, nor required approval of the manuscript prior to submission or publication. USGS-funded data used in this study are available as a USGS data release ( Ellis et al., 2021 ). Contact the corresponding author or individual organizations for further information. We thank S. Saunders, D. Gibson, and three anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved the overall manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • Harmful algal bloom
  • Hidden Markov
  • Hurricane
  • Karenia brevis
  • Multistate
  • Oil spill
  • Shorebird

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