Spatial synchrony of breeding success in the blacklegged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla reflects the spatial dynamics of its sandeel prey

Olin, A., Banas, N. S., Wright, P. J., Heath, M. R. and Nager, R. (2020) Spatial synchrony of breeding success in the blacklegged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla reflects the spatial dynamics of its sandeel prey. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 638, pp. 177-190. (doi: 10.3354/meps13252)

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Synchrony in demographic rates between spatially disjunct populations is a widespread phenomenon, although the underlying mechanisms are often not known. This synchrony and its spatial patterns can have important consequences for the long-term persistence of metapopulations and can also be used to infer drivers of population dynamics. Here, we examined spatial patterns of synchrony in the breeding success of black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla in the UK, using an extensive dataset on kittiwake breeding success and 2 different ways of measuring synchrony: one reflecting synchrony in inter-annual fluctuations only (rdiff) and one reflecting synchrony in both inter-annual fluctuations and long-term trends (r). We found that between-colony synchrony in breeding success decreased with distance up to just over 200 km but that some colony pairs showed stronger or weaker synchrony than expected based on distance. This was also reflected in the configuration of spatially coherent clusters of kittiwake colonies with synchronous breeding success. Further, we compared the support for different drivers of these spatial patterns, including trophic interactions and weather conditions. We found that the spatial dynamics of the kittiwakes’ main prey in this region, the lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus, appeared to play some role in generating synchrony in long-term patterns, but their role in generating synchrony in inter-annual fluctuations was less clear. The study shows that examining spatial patterns in synchrony can provide useful information for inferring potential drivers and the spatial scale over which they are acting.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The study was funded by a doctoral fellowship from the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS), in partnership with University of Strathclyde and University of Glasgow, as well as by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (grant number NE/L003090/1. Marine Ecosystems Research Programme).
Keywords:Spatial population dynamics, spatial autocorrelation, seabird, sand lance, North Sea, forage fish, cluster analysis.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Olin, Ms Agnes and Nager, Dr Ruedi
Authors: Olin, A., Banas, N. S., Wright, P. J., Heath, M. R., and Nager, R.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Ecology Progress Series
Journal Abbr.:MEPS
Publisher:Inter Research
ISSN (Online):1616-1599
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Marine Ecology Progress Series 638:177-190
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
169619Integrating Macroecology and Modelling to Elucidate Regulation of Services from Ecosystems -IMMERSERudolf NagerNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/L003090/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine