Thursday, 17 October 2013

Fat light-bellied Brent geese have more offspring - but only if the weather's good

I pinched this neat catchy headline from Xav's twitter feed when he circulated the link to this further neat paper from his thesis.

Entitled "Environmental Conditions during Breeding Modify the Strength of Mass-Dependent Carry-Over Effects in a Migratory Bird" this paper continues on the main theme of Xav's PhD work - looking at carry-over effects in our study population of Light-bellied Brent Geese and Xav's phrasing in the headline of this post just about says it all!

So we have demonstrated that female geese in better spring body condition are more likely to successfully raise young in that breeding season (established in a few other populations too and previous Brent papers led by the Exeter team have shown this). What is new here is an examination of the role of summer breeding conditions (snow melt, temperatures, winds on migration - those sorts of factors that we might expect would have an impact on the birds directly or indirectly) which shows that if the arctic breeding conditions were poor, irrespective of birds body condition, reproductive output would be bad. 

The full article is available here and is well worth the read. Well done to all involved.

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