Tiny songbirds, incredible stamina

Tiny songbirds, incredible stamina

Geolocating ‘backpacks’ track blackpoll warblers from Alaska and Canada to South America Blackpoll warblers that breed in western North America may migrate up to 12,400 miles roundtrip each year, some crossing the entire North American continent before making a nonstop trans-ocean flight of up to four days to South America. Now a new study, led by first author Bill DeLuca, environmental conservation, and project lead Ryan Norris at the University of Guelph, Ontario, offers details of the feat. Reporting in the journal Ecology, DeLuca, Norris and colleagues provide new data on the central- and western-nesting blackpolls based on data collected from miniaturized geo-locators harnessed to the birds like tiny backpacks.  Research teams deployed the dime-sized devices, weighing 0.5g and with a 12-month battery life, on male birds at four locations: Churchill, Manitoba; Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; Denali National Park and Nome, both in Alaska. They report recovering 12 tags from Churchill birds and five each from Whitehorse, Nome and Denali, a total of 27. DeLuca points out that acquiring a...
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UMass ecologists on-board to help state’s fishing industry

UMass ecologists on-board to help state’s fishing industry

The Gloucester Times reported (Feb 28, 2019) on how UMass Amherst is helping boost Massachusets's economic growth opportunities in the commercial fishing industry. The following is an excerpt. The city of Gloucester, which received a $1 million grant to renovate its harbormaster offices and construct a new visiting boater center at that site, wasn't the only Cape Ann beneficiary of the Seaport Economic Council's largesse on Wednesday. The University of Massachusetts system, which includes UMass Amherst's Gloucester Marine Station at Hodgkins Cove, received a $276,854 grant from the council to identify economic growth opportunities for the Massachusetts commercial fishing industry. ... In awarding the grant, the Seaport Economic Council touted the UMass system's ability to "leverage the diverse expertise and research capacity of its five campuses to take an innovative, multidisciplinary approach" in addressing habitat, fishery management, marketing and economic forces. "In doing so, Massachusetts will be able to improve its fishing industry by both reinvigorating traditional components of the system, including diversifying catches...
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Phoenix homeowners help birds — with landscaping

Phoenix homeowners help birds — with landscaping

Urban ecologists investigate bird diversity A persistent question among urban ecology researchers has been the long-term impact of urbanization on bird species biodiversity. Specifically, they wonder whether the portions of cities with higher diversity are simply exhibiting an “extinction debt” – populations doomed to extinction but not yet disappeared – or if other factors such as range shifts or local environmental changes play a role in changes in diversity.  Now, researchers led by co-first authors Paige S. Warren, environmental conservation, and Susannah B. Lerman of the USDA Forest Service, with Riley Andrade, Kelli Larson and Heather Bateman of Arizona State University, report on results from their long-term monitoring of birds in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Details appear in the current online issue of Ecosphere. The study looked at bird communities over time in relation to habitat, societal factors, human responses and bird populations. Findings suggest that although the presence of bird species, bird abundance and the number of bird species all decreased over time, in areas where homeowners provided desert...
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William DeLuca and Colleagues Uncover Blackpoll Warbler Migration Pattern

William DeLuca and Colleagues Uncover Blackpoll Warbler Migration Pattern

Courtesy: UMass News & Media Relations  Across North America and the Atlantic, Documenting an Enormous Migration Journey for a Tiny Songbird UMass Amherst, Canadian researchers identify blackpoll warbler migration routes March 19, 2019 Contact: Bill DeLuca 443/223-0991 Blackpoll warbler with backpack. Photo courtesy of Hilary Cook, Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.Blackpoll migration AMHERST, Mass. ­– Blackpoll warblers that breed in western North America may migrate up to 12,400 miles roundtrip each year, some crossing the entire North American continent before making a nonstop trans-ocean flight of up to four days to South America. Now a new study led by first author Bill DeLuca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and project lead Ryan Norris at the University of Guelph, Ontario offers details of the feat. Reporting in the journal Ecology, DeLuca, Norris and colleagues provide new data on the central- and western-nesting blackpolls based on data collected from miniaturized geo-locators harnessed to the birds like tiny backpacks. Research teams deployed the dime-sized devices, weighing 0.5g and with a 12-month battery life, on male...
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Sea turtles ‘cold-stunned’ by late migration

Sea turtles ‘cold-stunned’ by late migration

Researchers pinpoint climate factors that lead to increase in stunning and stranding events The number of cold-stunning and stranding events among juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, one of the world’s most endangered species, is increasing at an “alarming” rate and has moved north from Long Island Sound to Cape Cod Bay, say researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, MassAudubon and the University of Rhode Island. Their recent study looked into what variables are most important in predicting such events, to more effectively help the distressed reptiles.  First author of the new paper in the journal PLOS ONE last week is UMass Amherst conservation biologist Lucas Griffin, a Ph.D. candidate in marine science. As he and colleagues point out, climate change may present the broadest threat among many to sea turtle conservation, but not enough is understood about its potential effects on sea turtle cold-stunning events.  “We know so little about this critically endangered species and it’s really important for us to learn more to bolster their resilience.” —Lucas Griffin With long...
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