Friday, 13 December 2013

Science Club Events - 13 December 2013

Biosciences Science Club Events - Michaelmas 2013
13 December 2013 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

Linking behavioural, physiological and demographic responses to climate change


Tina Cornioley

(University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Downloaded from:

This week we have a visitor from the University of Zurich working on the demography of the wandering albatross. Tina recently started her PhD and her project is a collaboration between the lab of Arpat Ozgul in Zurich, the Jenouvrier lab at Woods Hole, Henri Weimerskirch's group at Chize in France (who has been studying these birds since many decades) and (ahem) my lab here at Swansea

What Tina would like to do is present her project, aimed at developing a trait-based demographic model linking environmental change to individual demographic responses, and discuss her ideas for modelling the movement data (results from the latter will then be included as one of the traits in the demographic model).

We are all excited about this project, as studies linking explicitly individual state, movement behaviour, environmental change, and demographic responses are rare. This means, however, that Tina will have to develop several novel ways to use her data and hence any feedback will be most welcome. 

Hope to see many of you today at 1pm! And for the exceedingly curious ones among you, here a bit more info:

Photo by Kimball Chen

There is an increasing body of evidence highlighting ecological alterations induced by climate change across the globe. Last year, Henri Weimerskirch and his colleagues showed that the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans), a wide-ranging Sub-Antarctic seabird responded behaviourally, physiologically and demographically to changing wind patterns. This bird, which takes advantage of winds to reduce the flying cost, benefited from stronger winds and could cover more distance during foraging trips. Consequently, individuals increased in mass and had a higher reproductive success. 

Taking into consideration the potential changes in the environment is crucial to efficiently manage wild populations. Changes in the environment can be linked to demographic rates using behavioural and physiological traits as state variables. Using a trait-based model, we aim to investigate the effects of changes in foraging patterns and physiology, whether directly or indirectly induced by environmental changes, on the population dynamics of the wandering albatross. 

Quantifying movement and foraging patterns as a trait adds a new dimension to the existing trait-based modelling approaches. This model will enable us to (1) determine the most critical life history processes or pathways governing the population  persistence,  and  (2)  predict  population,  behavioural  and  phenotypic dynamics  under alternative climate change scenarios.

Obviously, I cannot resist from posting a David Attenborough video ...

... but have to confess that the first video that still springs to my mind about albatross flight is another one ;-) 

See you at the Zoology Museum!

No comments:

Post a Comment