Timing avian long-distance migration: from internal clock mechanisms to global flights

Åkesson, S., Ilieva, M., Karagicheva, J., Rakhimberdiev, E., Tomotani, B. and Helm, B. (2017) Timing avian long-distance migration: from internal clock mechanisms to global flights. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 372(1734), 20160252. (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0252) (PMID:28993496)

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Abstract

Migratory birds regularly perform impressive long-distance flights, which are timed relative to the anticipated environmental resources at destination areas that can be several thousand kilometres away. Timely migration requires diverse strategies and adaptations that involve an intricate interplay between internal clock mechanisms and environmental conditions across the annual cycle. Here we review what challenges birds face during long migrations to keep track of time as they exploit geographically distant resources that may vary in availability and predictability, and summarize the clock mechanisms that enable them to succeed. We examine the following challenges: departing in time for spring and autumn migration, in anticipation of future environmental conditions; using clocks on the move, for example for orientation, navigation and stopover; strategies of adhering to, or adjusting, the time programme while fitting their activities into an annual cycle; and keeping pace with a world of rapidly changing environments. We then elaborate these themes by case studies representing long-distance migrating birds with different annual movement patterns and associated adaptations of their circannual programmes. We discuss the current knowledge on how endogenous migration programmes interact with external information across the annual cycle, how components of annual cycle programmes encode topography and range expansions, and how fitness may be affected when mismatches between timing and environmental conditions occur. Lastly, we outline open questions and propose future research directions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Helm, Dr Barbara
Authors: Åkesson, S., Ilieva, M., Karagicheva, J., Rakhimberdiev, E., Tomotani, B., and Helm, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8436
ISSN (Online):1471-2970
Published Online:09 October 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 372(1734):20160252
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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