Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations

Date:
March 30, 2009
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Research shows how climate change is having an impact on upland bird species such as the golden plover.

Eurasian Golden Plover, Pluvialis apricaria. Warm summers are dramatically reducing populations of daddy long legs, which in turn is having a severe impact on the bird populations which rely on them for food.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Image

Warm summers are dramatically reducing populations of daddy long legs, which in turn is having a severe impact on the bird populations which rely on them for food.

New research by a team of bird experts, including Newcastle University’s Dr Mark Whittingham, spells out for the first time how climate change may affect upland bird species like the golden plover – perhaps pushing it towards local extinction by the end of the century.

It also points a way forward to how we can attempt to strengthen habitats to help wildlife adapt to our changing climate and prevent such consequences.

Previous research has shown how changes in the timing of the golden plover breeding season as a result of increasing spring temperatures might affect their ability to match the spring emergence of their cranefly (daddy long legs) prey.

The new research shows the true effects are much more severe.

Higher temperatures in late summer are killing the cranefly larvae, resulting in a drop of up to 95 per cent in the number of adult craneflies emerging the following spring. With these craneflies providing a crucial food source for a wide range of upland birds like the golden plover, this means starvation and death for many chicks.

“The population of Golden Plovers in our study will likely be extinct in around 100 years if temperature predictions are correct and the birds cannot adapt to feed on other prey sources,” explains Newcastle University’s Dr Mark Whittingham, who worked on the study with scientists from RSPB Scotland andAberystwyth and Manchester universities.

“Our study models the impacts of climate change on the ecology of the animal. In this case we show that higher August temperatures, as predicted from climate change models, are correlated with lower numbers of daddy-long legs.

“Daddy long-leg abundance is key for Golden Plover chicks in terms of growth and survival. Worryingly, our work is likely to apply to other upland bird species that also rely on daddy-long legs as a prey resource, such as Curlew.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pearce-higgins et al. Impacts of climate on prey abundance account for fluctuations in a population of a northern wader at the southern edge of its range. Global Change Biology, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01883.x

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326092356.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2009, March 30). Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326092356.htm
Newcastle University. "Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326092356.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins