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Dynamic sensitivity to resource availability influences population responses to mismatches in a shorebird

June 2, 2022

Climate change has caused shifts in seasonally recurring biological events leading to the temporal decoupling of consumer-resource pairs – i.e., phenological mismatching. Although mismatches often affect individual fitness, they do not invariably scale up to affect populations, making it difficult to assess the risk they pose. Individual variation may contribute to this inconsistency, with changes in resource availability and consumer needs leading mismatches to have different outcomes over time. Nevertheless, most models estimate a consumer’s match from a single timepoint, potentially obscuring when mismatches matter to populations. We analyzed how the effects of mismatches varied over time by studying precocial Hudsonian godwit (Limosa haemastica) chicks and their invertebrate prey from 2009 to 2019. We developed individual and population level models to determine how age-specific variation affect the relationship between godwits and resource availability. We found that periods with abundant resources led to higher growth and survival of godwit chicks, but also that chick survival was increasingly related to the availability of larger prey as chicks aged. At the population level, estimates of mismatches using age-structured consumer demand explained more variation in annual godwit fledging rates than more commonly used alternatives. Our study suggests that modeling the effects of mismatches as the disrupted interaction between dynamic consumer needs and resource availability clarifies when mismatches matter to both individuals and populations.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Dynamic sensitivity to resource availability influences population responses to mismatches in a shorebird
DOI 10.1002/ecy.3743
Authors Luke R. Wilde, Josiah E. Simmons, Rose J. Swift, Nathan R. Senner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70231905
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center