Climate change and habitat heterogeneity drive a population increase in Common Buzzards Buteo buteo through effects on survival

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Climate change and habitat heterogeneity drive a population increase in Common Buzzards Buteo buteo through effects on survival. / Jonker, R. M.; Chakarov, Nayden; Krüger, O.

In: Ibis, Vol. 156, No. 1, 2014, p. 97-106.

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Jonker, R. M. ; Chakarov, Nayden ; Krüger, O. / Climate change and habitat heterogeneity drive a population increase in Common Buzzards Buteo buteo through effects on survival. In: Ibis. 2014 ; Vol. 156, No. 1. pp. 97-106.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Climate change and habitat heterogeneity drive a population increase in Common Buzzards Buteo buteo through effects on survival

AU - Jonker, R. M.

AU - Chakarov, Nayden

AU - Krüger, O.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - The effect of changing climatic conditions on wild populations has been the subject of much recent research. Most attention has been on the direct effects of climate changes on species of lower trophic levels and on the negative consequences of climate change. However, a deeper understanding of how climate change affects apex predators is vital, as they are keystone species that have a disproportionate effect on ecosystems. Studying survival in an apex predator requires individual-based data from long-term studies and is complicated by the integration of climatic effects on lower trophic levels. Here we assess how climate affects the survival of the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo. We analysed the survival of 670 males and 669 females over the period 1989-2011, during which time our study population quadrupled. We used mark-recapture survival analysis of individual resightings of breeding adults to identify the environmental factors best explaining survival. A decrease in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index increased survival to an extent that largely explains the population increase. This might be caused by higher Common Vole Microtus arvalis survival in drier conditions and under snow cover. Buzzard survival appeared to increase more for males than for females, possibly due to the males' higher sensitivity to winter food availability resulting from their smaller body mass. However, we also found that the effect of NAO strongly depended on the area in which individuals lived, especially for females. This may have been caused by the recolonization of Eagle Owls Bubo bubo in some parts of our study area. This study suggests that climatic changes can have complex effects on species of higher trophic levels via an interaction with their prey.

AB - The effect of changing climatic conditions on wild populations has been the subject of much recent research. Most attention has been on the direct effects of climate changes on species of lower trophic levels and on the negative consequences of climate change. However, a deeper understanding of how climate change affects apex predators is vital, as they are keystone species that have a disproportionate effect on ecosystems. Studying survival in an apex predator requires individual-based data from long-term studies and is complicated by the integration of climatic effects on lower trophic levels. Here we assess how climate affects the survival of the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo. We analysed the survival of 670 males and 669 females over the period 1989-2011, during which time our study population quadrupled. We used mark-recapture survival analysis of individual resightings of breeding adults to identify the environmental factors best explaining survival. A decrease in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index increased survival to an extent that largely explains the population increase. This might be caused by higher Common Vole Microtus arvalis survival in drier conditions and under snow cover. Buzzard survival appeared to increase more for males than for females, possibly due to the males' higher sensitivity to winter food availability resulting from their smaller body mass. However, we also found that the effect of NAO strongly depended on the area in which individuals lived, especially for females. This may have been caused by the recolonization of Eagle Owls Bubo bubo in some parts of our study area. This study suggests that climatic changes can have complex effects on species of higher trophic levels via an interaction with their prey.

KW - apex predators

KW - life-history

KW - North Atlantic Oscillation

KW - population

KW - dynamics

KW - raptors

KW - size dimorphism

KW - migratory bird

KW - top predators

KW - reproduction

KW - responses

KW - density

KW - fitness

KW - determinants

KW - biodiversity

KW - demography

U2 - 10.1111/ibi.12124

DO - 10.1111/ibi.12124

M3 - Article

VL - 156

SP - 97

EP - 106

JO - Ibis

T2 - Ibis

JF - Ibis

SN - 0019-1019

IS - 1

ER -