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Keith A. Hobson

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Studies of how birds mobilize nutrients to eggs have traditionally considered a continuum of possible allocation strategies ranging from income breeding (rely on food sources found on the breeding grounds) to capital breeding (rely on body reserves stored prior to the breeding season). For capital breeding, stored body reserves can be acquired either on or away from the breeding grounds, but it has been difficult to quantify the relative contribution of each, precluding identification of key habitats for acquiring nutrients for clutch formation. During 2006–2009, we explored the importance of spring-staging habitats versus breeding-area habitats for egg-lipid formation in female lesser scaup Aythya affinis using...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Avian Biology
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In a recent paper published in The Auk, Smith et al. (2009) raised serious concerns over an apparent lack of reproducibility in their study of stable hydrogen isotope values (δDf ) in raptor feathers. The authors based their concerns on results obtained from different laboratories to which they submitted original and blind “repeats” over a multiyear period. A regression of the original sample δD versus “repeat” measurements showed an increase in the magnitude of residuals with increasing δDf , especially for values greater than about −80‰ (Smith et al. 2009: fig. 2). Because of this, the authors “caution against the continued use of δDf for predicting geographic origin, and for addressing important conservation...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Auk
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The macronutrients that Arctic herbivores invest in their offspring are derived from endogenous reserves of fat and protein (capital) that females build prior to the period of investment or from foods they consume concurrently with investment (income). The relative contribution from each source can be influenced by temporal and environmental constraints on a female's ability to forage on Arctic breeding areas. Warming temperatures and advancing Arctic phenology may alter those constraints. From 2011–2014, we examined relationships among spring temperature, timing of migration and reproduction, and the sources of nutrients females deposited in eggs for three sympatric species of geese that nested in northern Alaska....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Global Change Biology
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Lesser scaup Aythya affinis populations have declined throughout the North American continent for the last three decades. It has been hypothesized that the loss and degradation of staging habitats has resulted in reduced female body condition on the breeding grounds and a concomitant decline in productivity. We explored the importance of body (endogenous) reserves obtained prior to arrival on the breeding ground in egg protein formation in southwestern Montana during 2006–2008 using stable-carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope analyses of scaup egg components, female tissue, and local prey items. From arrival on the breeding grounds through the egg-laying period, δ15N values of scaup red blood cells decreased...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Avian Biology
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1. The stable isotopes of nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) were analysed in 22 species of marine birds from coastal waters of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Analyses confirm that stable nitrogen isotopes can predict seabird trophic positions.2. Based on δ15N analyses, seabird trophic-level inferences generally agree with those of conventional dietary studies, but suggest that lower trophic-level organisms are more important to several seabirds than was recognized previously.3. Stable-carbon isotope analysis may be a good indicator of inshore vs. offshore feeding preference.4. In general, stable-isotope analysis to determine trophic level offers many advantages over conventional dietary approaches since trophic inferences...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Animal Ecology
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