Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Declining adult survival of New Zealand Bar-tailed Godwits during 2005–2012 despite apparent population stability

Jesse R. Conklin A H , Tamar Lok A B , David S. Melville C , Adrian C. Riegen D , Rob Schuckard E , Theunis Piersma A F and Phil F. Battley G

A Conservation Ecology Group, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands.

B Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR 5175, Campus CNRS, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, Cedex 5, France.

C 1261 Dovedale Road, RD2 Wakefield, Nelson 7096, New Zealand.

D 231 Forest Hill Road, Waiatarua, Waitakere 0612, New Zealand.

E PO Box 98, Rai Valley 7145, New Zealand.

F Department of Marine Ecology, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands.

G Ecology Group, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.

H Corresponding author. Email: conklin.jesse@gmail.com

Emu 116(2) 147-157 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU15058
Submitted: 30 May 2015  Accepted: 13 November 2015   Published: 10 March 2016

Abstract

Like many migratory shorebird populations using the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica baueri in New Zealand have significantly declined since the mid-1990s, but census data indicate a relatively stable population since 2004. The demographic drivers of both the decline and stabilisation remain unknown. We estimated annual survival from mark–recapture data of adult godwits in New Zealand during 2005–2014. Annual adult survival declined over the study period from 0.89–0.96 in 2005–2010 to 0.83–0.84 in 2011–2012. The simultaneous decline in annual survival found in a separate study of Bar-tailed Godwits L. l. menzbieri in north-west Australia suggests a common effect of their high dependence on threatened migratory staging sites in the Yellow Sea; the more extreme decline in L. l. menzbieri may reflect ecological differences between the populations, such as timing and extent of use of these sites. At current apparent recruitment rates, persistent adult survival of ~0.84 would lead to a population decline of 5–6% per year in L. l. baueri. Our study implies that the demographic precursors to a population decline developed during a period of apparent population stability; this suggests that monitoring a single index of population stability is insufficient for predicting future trends.

Additional keywords: East Asian–Australasian Flyway, Limosa lapponica baueri, mark–recapture, shorebirds.


References

Abadi, F., Botha, A., and Altwegg, R. (2013). Revisiting the effect of capture heterogeneity on survival estimates in capture-mark-recapture studies: does it matter? PLoS One 8, e62636.
Revisiting the effect of capture heterogeneity on survival estimates in capture-mark-recapture studies: does it matter?CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3sXnsVKht70%3D&md5=64eb5a4781849186518c2f1963102cd8CAS | 23646131PubMed | open url image1

Amano, T., Székely, T., Koyama, K., Amano, H., and Sutherland, W. J. (2012). A framework for monitoring the status of populations: An example from wader populations in the East Asian–Australasian flyway. Biological Conservation 143, 2238–2247.
A framework for monitoring the status of populations: An example from wader populations in the East Asian–Australasian flyway. Biological Conservation CrossRef | open url image1

Baker, A. J., González, P. M., Piersma, T., Niles, L. J., do Nascimento, I. D. S., Atkinson, P. W., Clark, N. A., Minton, C. D. T., Peck, M. K., and Aarts, G. (2004). Rapid population decline in red knots: fitness consequences of decreased refuelling rates and late arrival in Delaware Bay. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 271, 875–882.
Rapid population decline in red knots: fitness consequences of decreased refuelling rates and late arrival in Delaware Bay.CrossRef | 15255108PubMed | open url image1

Bamford, M., Watkins, D., Bancroft, W., Tischler, G., and Wahl, J. (2008) ‘Migratory Shorebirds of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway: Population Estimates and Internationally Important Sites.’ (Wetlands International – Oceania: Canberra)

Barter, M. (2002) Shorebirds of the Yellow Sea: importance, threats and conservation status. Available at http://www.wetlands.org/Portals/0/publications/Book/WI_ShorebirdsYellowSea_2002.pdf [Verified 19 January 2015].

Barter, M. (2003). The Yellow Sea – a race against time. Wader Study Group Bulletin 100, 111–113. open url image1

Battley, P. F., and Piersma, T. (2005). Body composition and flight ranges of bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica baueri) from New Zealand. The Auk 122, 922–937.
Body composition and flight ranges of bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica baueri) from New Zealand.CrossRef | open url image1

Battley, P. F., Schuckard, R., and Melville, D. S. (2011) Movements of Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots within New Zealand. Science for Conservation No. 315. New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Battley, P. F., Warnock, N., Tibbitts, T. L., Gill, R. E., Piersma, T., Hassell, C. J., Douglas, D. C., Mulcahy, D. M., Gartrell, B. D., Schuckard, R., Melville, D. S., and Riegen, A. C. (2012). Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica. Journal of Avian Biology 43, 21–32.
Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica.CrossRef | open url image1

BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheets: IUCN Red list for birds. (BirdLife International) Available at http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3005 [Verified 4 December 2015]

Boyd, H., and Piersma, T. (2001). Changing balance between survival and recruitment explains population trends in Red Knots Calidris canutus islandica wintering in Britain, 1969–1995. Ardea 89, 301–317. open url image1

Burnham, K. P., and Anderson, D. R. (2002) ‘Model Selection and Multimodel Inference: A Practical Information-theoretic Approach.’ 2nd edn. (Springer: New York)

Choi, C.-Y. (2015) The northward migration stopover ecology of Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots in the Yalu Jiang Estuary National Nature Reserve, China. PhD Thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Choi, C.-Y., Battley, P. F., Potter, M. A., Ma, Z., and Liu, W. (2014). Factors affecting the distribution patterns of benthic invertebrates at a major shorebird staging site in the Yellow Sea, China. Wetlands 34, 1085–1096.
Factors affecting the distribution patterns of benthic invertebrates at a major shorebird staging site in the Yellow Sea, China.CrossRef | open url image1

Choi, C.-Y., Battley, P. F., Potter, M. A., Rogers, K. G., and Ma, Z. (2015). The importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea to Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris during northward migration. Bird Conservation International 25, 53–70.
The importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea to Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris during northward migration.CrossRef | open url image1

Choi, Y. R. (2014). Modernization, Development and underdevelopment: reclamation of Korean tidal flats, 1950s–2000s. Ocean & Coastal Management 102, 426–436.
Modernization, Development and underdevelopment: reclamation of Korean tidal flats, 1950s–2000s.CrossRef | open url image1

Choquet, R., Lebreton, J. D., Gimenez, O., Reboulet, A. M., and Pradel, R. (2009a). U-CARE: Utilities for performing goodness of fit tests and manipulating CApture–REcapture data. Ecography 32, 1071–1074.
U-CARE: Utilities for performing goodness of fit tests and manipulating CApture–REcapture data.CrossRef | open url image1

Choquet, R., Rouan, L., and Pradel, R. (2009b) Program E-SURGE: a software application for fitting multievent models. In ‘Modeling Demographic Processes in Marked Populations.’ (Eds D.L. Thomson, E.G. Cooch and M.J. Conroy) pp. 845–865. (Springer: New York)

Conklin, J. R., and Battley, P. F. (2011). Impacts of wind on individual migration schedules of New Zealand bar-tailed godwits. Behavioral Ecology 22, 854–861.
Impacts of wind on individual migration schedules of New Zealand bar-tailed godwits.CrossRef | open url image1

Conklin, J. R., Battley, P. F., Potter, M. A., and Fox, J. W. (2010). Breeding latitude drives individual schedules in a trans-hemispheric migrant bird. Nature Communications 1, 67.
Breeding latitude drives individual schedules in a trans-hemispheric migrant bird.CrossRef | 20842198PubMed | open url image1

Conklin, J. R., Battley, P. F., and Potter, M. A. (2013). Absolute consistency: individual versus population variation in annual-cycle schedules of a long-distance migrant bird. PLoS One 8, e54535.
Absolute consistency: individual versus population variation in annual-cycle schedules of a long-distance migrant bird.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3sXhs1yls7s%3D&md5=f921857e27c89035ef1b94fa062ab537CAS | 23342168PubMed | open url image1

Conklin, J. R., Verkuil, Y. I., and Smith, B. R. (2014) Prioritizing migratory shorebirds for conservation action on the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. WWF-Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Garnett, S. T., Szabo, J. K., and Dutson, G. (2011) Action plan for Australian birds 2010. CSIRO, Melbourne.

Gill, R. E., and Handel, C. M. (1990). The importance of subarctic intertidal habitats to shorebirds: a study of the central Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. The Condor 92, 709–725.
The importance of subarctic intertidal habitats to shorebirds: a study of the central Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska.CrossRef | open url image1

Gill, R. E., and McCaffery, B. J. (1999). Bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica in Alaska: a population estimate from the staging grounds. Wader Study Group Bulletin 88, 49–54. open url image1

Gill, R. E., Tibbitts, T. L., Douglas, D. C., Handel, C. M., Mulcahy, D. M., Gottschalck, J. C., Warnock, N., McCaffery, B. J., Battley, P. F., and Piersma, T. (2009). Extreme endurance flights by landbirds crossing the Pacific Ocean: ecological corridor rather than barrier? Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276, 447–457.
Extreme endurance flights by landbirds crossing the Pacific Ocean: ecological corridor rather than barrier?CrossRef | 18974033PubMed | open url image1

Gill, R. E., Douglas, D. C., Handel, C. M., Tibbitts, T. L., Hufford, G., and Piersma, T. (2014). Hemispheric-scale wind selection facilitates bar-tailed godwit circum-migration of the Pacific. Animal Behaviour 90, 117–130.
Hemispheric-scale wind selection facilitates bar-tailed godwit circum-migration of the Pacific.CrossRef | open url image1

Handel, C. M., and Gill, R. E. (2010). Wayward youth: trans-Beringian movement and differential southward migration by juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Arctic 63, 273–288.
Wayward youth: trans-Beringian movement and differential southward migration by juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.CrossRef | open url image1

Hargrove, J. W., and Borland, C. H. (1994). Pooled population parameter estimates from mark-recapture data. Biometrics 50, 1129–1141.
Pooled population parameter estimates from mark-recapture data.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK2Mzgs1Gqsg%3D%3D&md5=999a75ae8475309b7676f9d2f88bc837CAS | 7786993PubMed | open url image1

Hassell, C. (2013). Recent longevity records of waders in Roebuck Bay, NW Australia. Wader Study Group Bulletin 120, 225–226. open url image1

Hua, N., Tan, K., Chen, Y., and Ma, Z. (2015). Key research issues concerning the conservation of migratory shorebirds in the Yellow Sea region. Bird Conservation International 25, 38–52.
Key research issues concerning the conservation of migratory shorebirds in the Yellow Sea region.CrossRef | open url image1

Iwamura, T., Possingham, H. P., Chadès, I., Minton, C., Murray, N. J., Rogers, D. I., Treml, E. A., and Fuller, R. A. (2013). Migratory connectivity magnifies the consequences of habitat loss from sea-level rise for shorebird populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280, 20130325.
Migratory connectivity magnifies the consequences of habitat loss from sea-level rise for shorebird populations.CrossRef | 23760637PubMed | open url image1

Laake, J. L. (2013) RMark: an R interface for analysis of capture–recapture data with MARK. Available at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/publications/procrpt/pr2013-01.pdf [Verified 14 December 2015].

Lebreton, J.-D., Burnham, K. P., Clobert, J., and Anderson, D. R. (1992). Modeling survival and testing biological hypotheses using marked animals: a unified approach with case studies. Ecological Monographs 62, 67–118.
Modeling survival and testing biological hypotheses using marked animals: a unified approach with case studies.CrossRef | open url image1

Leyrer, J., van Nieuwenhove, N., Crockford, N., and Delany, S. (2014) ‘Proposals for Concerted and Cooperative Action for Consideration by CMS COP 11, November 2014.’ (BirdLife International and International Wader Study Group) Available at http://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/document/COP11_Inf_44_Proposals_for_Concerted_and_Cooperative_Action_Bird_Species_for_Consideration_by_COP11_0.pdf [Verified 4 December 2015].

MacKinnon, J., Verkuil, Y. I., and Murray, N. (2012) IUCN situation analysis on East and Southeast Asian intertidal habitats, with particular reference to the Yellow Sea (including the Bohai Sea). Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 47. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

McCaffery, B. J., and Gill, R. E., Jr (2001) Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica). In ‘The Birds of North America. Vol. 581.’ (Eds A. Poole and F. Gill). (The Birds of North America, Inc.: Philadelphia)

Meltofte, H., Piersma, T., Boyd, H., McCaffery, B., Ganter, B., Golovnyuk, V. V., Graham, K., Gratto-Trevor, C. L., Morrison, R. I. G., Nol, E., Rösner, H., Schamel, D., Schekkerman, H., Soloviev, M. Y., Tomkovich, P. S., Tracy, D. M., Tulp, I., and Wennerberg, L. (2007). Effects of climate variation on the breeding ecology of Arctic shorebirds. Bioscience 59, 1–48. open url image1

Melville, D., Ying, C., and Ma, Z. (2016). Shorebirds along the Yellow Sea coast of China face an uncertain future – a review of threats. Emu 116, 100–110.
Shorebirds along the Yellow Sea coast of China face an uncertain future – a review of threats.CrossRef | open url image1

Minton, C., Taylor, S., Jessop, R., Gibbs, H., Habraken, T., and Schuckard, R. (2010). Amazing initial results from the deployment of engraved leg flags on Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica in Victoria, Australia. Stilt 58, 10–12. open url image1

Minton, C., Gosbell, K., Johns, P., Christie, M., Klaassen, M., Hassell, C., Boyle, A., Jessop, R., and Fox, J. (2011). Geolocator studies on Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres and Greater Sandplovers Charadrius leschenaultii in the East Asian–Australasia Flyway reveal widely different migration strategies. Wader Study Group Bulletin 118, 87–96. open url image1

Moores, N., Rogers, D. I., Rogers, K., and Hansbro, P. M. (2016). Reclamation of tidal flats and shorebird declines in Saemangeum and elsewhere in the Republic of Korea. Emu 116, 136–146.
Reclamation of tidal flats and shorebird declines in Saemangeum and elsewhere in the Republic of Korea.CrossRef | open url image1

Murray, N. J., Clemens, R. S., Phinn, S. R., Possingham, H. P., and Fuller, R. A. (2014). Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12, 267–272.
Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea.CrossRef | open url image1

Murray, N. J., Ma, Z., and Fuller, R. A. (2015). Tidal flats of the Yellow Sea: A review of ecosystem status and anthropogenic threats. Austral Ecology 40, 472–481.
Tidal flats of the Yellow Sea: A review of ecosystem status and anthropogenic threats.CrossRef | open url image1

O’Brien, S., Robert, B., and Tiandry, H. (2005). Consequences of violating the recapture duration assumption of mark–recapture models: a test using simulated and empirical data from an endangered tortoise population. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 1096–1104.
Consequences of violating the recapture duration assumption of mark–recapture models: a test using simulated and empirical data from an endangered tortoise population.CrossRef | open url image1

Piersma, T., and Gill, R. E. (1998). Guts don’t fly: small digestive organs in obese bar-tailed godwits. The Auk 115, 196–203.
Guts don’t fly: small digestive organs in obese bar-tailed godwits.CrossRef | open url image1

Piersma, T., Lok, T., Chen, Y., Hassell, C. J., Yang, H.-Y., Boyle, A., Slaymaker, M., Chan, Y.-C., Melville, D. S., Zhang, Z.-W., and Ma, Z. (2016). Simultaneous declines in summer survival of three shorebird species signals a flyway at risk. Journal of Applied Ecology , .
Simultaneous declines in summer survival of three shorebird species signals a flyway at risk.CrossRef | open url image1

R Core Team (2013) ‘R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing.’ (R Foundation for Statistical Computing: Vienna, Austria.)

Rakhimberdiev, E., van den Hout, P.J., Brugge, M., Spaans, B., and Piersma, T. (2015). Seasonal mortality and sequential density dependence in a migratory bird. Journal of Avian Biology 46, 332–341.
Seasonal mortality and sequential density dependence in a migratory bird.CrossRef | open url image1

Robertson, H. A., Dowding, J. E., Elliot, G. P., Hitchmough, R. A., Miskelly, C. M., O’Donnell, C. F. J., Powlesland, R. G., Sagar, P. M., Scofield, R. P., and Taylor, G. A. (2013) Conservation Status of New Zealand Birds, 2012. Available at http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/science-and-technical/nztcs4entire.pdf [Verified 3 December 2015].

Rogers, K. G., and Gosbell, K. (2006). Demographic models for red-necked stint and curlew sandpiper in Victoria. Stilt 50, 203–214. open url image1

Sæther, B.-E., and Bakke, Ø. (2000). Avian life history variation and contribution of demographic traits to the population growth rate. Ecology 81, 642–653.
Avian life history variation and contribution of demographic traits to the population growth rate.CrossRef | open url image1

Sagar, P., Shankar, U., and Brown, S. (1999). Distribution and numbers of waders in New Zealand, 1983–1994. Notornis 46, 1–44. open url image1

Southey, I. (2009) Numbers of Waders in New Zealand 1994–2003. Research & Development Series No. 308. New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Tomkovich, P. S., and Soloviev, M. Y. (2013) Breeding bird conditions in the circumpolar Arctic during 2011. Available at http://arcticbirds.net/review2011.pdf [Verified 3 December 2015].

Tomkovich, P. S., Porter, R. R., Loktionov, E. Y., and Niles, L. J. (2013). Pathways and staging areas of Red Knots Calidris canutus rogersi breeding in southern Chukotka, Far Eastern Russia. Wader Study Group Bulletin 120, 181–193. open url image1

Wetlands International (2013) Waterbird population estimates fifth edition. Available at http://wpe.wetlands.org/ [Verified 14 December 2015].

White, G. C., and Burnham, K. P. (1999). Program MARK: survival estimation from populations of marked animals. Bird Study 46, S120–S139.
Program MARK: survival estimation from populations of marked animals.CrossRef | open url image1

Wilson, J. R., Nebel, S., and Minton, C. D. T. (2007). Migration ecology and morphometrics of two bar-tailed godwit populations in Australia. Emu 107, 262–274.
Migration ecology and morphometrics of two bar-tailed godwit populations in Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Wilson, H. B., Kendall, B. E., Fuller, R. A., Milton, D. A., and Possingham, H. P. (2011). Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia. Conservation Biology 25, 758–766.
Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia.CrossRef | 21480993PubMed | open url image1


Export Citation Cited By (10)