What is it about?

Climate change is creating trophic mismatches between long-distance migratory species and their forage. More specifically, it is thought that earlier springs in northern latitudes may negatively affect forage quality for migratory birds. We tested whether the timing of the start of the growing season or the arrival time of the birds had a greater affect on forage quality.

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Why is it important?

We found that the arrival time of migratory geese played a much greater role in influencing forage quality than the start of the growing season. This occurs because herbivory by migratory geese influences forage quality more than abiotic variables. This suggests that trophic mismatches might not negatively influence migratory species as previously thought.


I enjoyed working my friends and colleagues in this remote area of Alaska and learning about how climate change is affecting this ecosystem in real time. I hope this research highlights the bird diversity and productivity of western Alaska as well as the importance of these ecosystems for the native Alaska communities that live there.

Karen Beard
Utah State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Migratory goose arrival time plays a larger role in influencing forage quality than advancing springs in an Arctic coastal wetland, PLoS ONE, March 2019, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213037.
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