Document Detail

Efficacy of stable isotope ratios in assigning endangered migrants to breeding and wintering sites.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18488617     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A primary constraint on effective conservation of migratory animals is our inability to track individuals through their annual cycle. One such animal is the endangered southwestern subspecies of the Willow Flycatcher, which is difficult to distinguish from conspecifics. Identifying wintering regions used by the endangered subspecies would be an important step in formulating an effective conservation strategy. Our objective was to use stable isotope ratios as a means of identifying wintering sites of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers. We analyzed stable isotope ratios of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen from feathers of breeding and wintering Willow Flycatchers. Based on winter samples, we document a positive trend in hydrogen isotope ratios across latitude. We also found that Willow Flycatchers use C4 food webs south of 8 degrees N latitude, but we found no evidence of use of C4 food webs farther north. Nitrogen stable isotope ratios of feathers showed no discernable geographic variation. Discriminant function analyses, based on stable isotope ratios of wintering Willow Flycatchers, were only useful (>50% accurate) for assigning individuals to winter regions if the regions were large and the threshold probability for assignment was relatively high. When using these discriminant functions, most breeding samples of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers were assigned to two wintering regions: central Mexico and Ecuador. We think that assignment of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers to Ecuador is unrealistic. Given the large percentages of samples that could not be classified with certainty, we are not confident that these two regions are truly more likely to harbor wintering Southwestern Willow Flycatchers than other winter regions. We think our inconclusive results are due primarily to weak and nonlinear gradients in isotope ratios across the winter range of Willow Flycatchers.
Jeffrey F Kelly; Matthew J Johnson; Suzanne Langridge; Mary Whitfield
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America     Volume:  18     ISSN:  1051-0761     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecol Appl     Publication Date:  2008 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-05-19     Completed Date:  2008-10-28     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9889808     Medline TA:  Ecol Appl     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  568-76     Citation Subset:  IM    
Oklahoma Biological Survey and Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 111 East Chesapeake Street, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Migration / physiology*
Conservation of Natural Resources
Feathers / chemistry
Hydrogen / analysis*
Reproduction / physiology*
Songbirds / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Isotopes; 1333-74-0/Hydrogen

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