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  1. Abstract

    Seasonal migrations are fascinating and ecologically important, but many migratory species are declining as climate change and land‐use change alter the habitats used by migrants across the annual cycle. While some migratory birds use a single wintering site, others undertake large‐scale post‐migratory movements during the nonbreeding season. Technological advances that enable tracking individual birds are uncovering more examples of post‐migratory nonbreeding movements. Documenting these movements is important for conservation, which requires understanding when and where migrants use habitats throughout their range. Here, we reviewed existing literature and collected information on the post‐migratory nonbreeding movements of 92 migratory bird species from 18 orders across six continents. Among these records, the most commonly reported drivers of movements were resource availability and climate. This strong dependence of post‐migratory nonbreeding movements on birds' abiotic and biotic environments suggests that environmental change will impact the patterns of these movements and potentially the fitness of species that undertake them. We also reviewed post‐migratory nonbreeding movements in North American‐breeding thrushes from the genusCatharusto examine the drivers of these movements in five closely related migratory species. We find that species that are less territorial are more likely to use multiple sites during the nonbreeding season; however, there is little evidence for dietary, evolutionary, or environmental differences between thrush species that move during winter and those that are stationary. While we believe our study represents the most comprehensive list of species exhibiting post‐migratory nonbreeding movements to date, biases in sampling, a lack of common terminology for these movements, and the still‐nascent availability of inexpensive, lightweight tracking devices mean that there are probably more populations that undertake such movements. Future research into the consequences of post‐migratory nonbreeding movements for individual fitness and ecosystem services would advance our understanding of their conservation importance and their evolution.

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  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Background Mobile animals transport nutrients and propagules across habitats, and are crucial for the functioning of food webs and for ecosystem services. Human activities such as urbanization can alter animal movement behavior, including site fidelity and resource use. Because many urban areas are adjacent to natural sites, mobile animals might connect natural and urban habitats. More generally, understanding animal movement patterns in urban areas can help predict how urban expansion will affect the roles of highly mobile animals in ecological processes. Methods Here, we examined movements by a seasonally nomadic wading bird, the American white ibis ( Eudocimus albus ), in South Florida, USA. White ibis are colonial wading birds that forage on aquatic prey; in recent years, some ibis have shifted their behavior to forage in urban parks, where they are fed by people. We used a spatial network approach to investigate how individual movement patterns influence connectivity between urban and non-urban sites. We built a network of habitat connectivity using GPS tracking data from ibis during their non-breeding season and compared this network to simulated networks that assumed individuals moved indiscriminately with respect to habitat type. Results We found that the observed network was less connected than the simulated networks, that urban-urban and natural-natural connections were strong, and that individuals using urban sites had the least-variable habitat use. Importantly, the few ibis that used both urban and natural habitats contributed the most to connectivity. Conclusions Habitat specialization in urban-acclimated wildlife could reduce the exchange of propagules and nutrients between urban and natural areas, which has consequences both for beneficial effects of connectivity such as gene flow and for detrimental effects such as the spread of contaminants or pathogens. 
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  3. Abstract

    In environments that vary unpredictably, many animals are nomadic, moving in an irregular pattern that differs from year to year. Exploring the mechanisms of nomadic movement is needed to understand how animals survive in highly variable environments, and to predict behavioural and population responses to environmental change.

    We developed a network model to identify plausible mechanisms of nomadic animal movement by comparing the performance of multiple movement rules along a continuum from nomadism to residency. Using simulations and analytical results, we explored how different types of habitat modifications (that augment or decrease resource availability) might affect the abundance and movement rates of animals following each of these rules.

    Movement rules for which departure from patches depended on resource availability and/or competition performed almost equally well and better than residency or uninformed movement under most conditions, even though animals using each rule moved at substantially different rates. Habitat modifications that stabilized resources, either by resource supplementation or degradation, eroded the benefits of informed nomadic movements, particularly for movements based on resource availability alone.

    These results suggest that simple movement rules can explain nomadic animal movements and determine species’ responses to environmental change. In particular, landscape stabilization and supplementation might be useful strategies for promoting populations of resident animals, but would be less beneficial for managing highly mobile species, many of which are threatened by habitat disruption and changes in climate.

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  4. Abstract

    The introduced fungal pathogenPseudogymnoascus destructansis causing decline of several species of bats in North America, with some even at risk of extinction or extirpation. The severity of the epidemic of white‐nose syndrome caused byP. destructanshas prompted investigation of the transmission and virulence of infection at multiple scales, but linking these scales is necessary to quantify the mechanisms of transmission and assess population‐scale declines.

    We built a model connecting within‐hibernaculum disease dynamics of little brown bats to regional‐scale dispersal, reproduction, and disease spread, including multiple plausible mechanisms of transmission.

    We parameterized the model using the approach of plausible parameter sets, by comparing stochastic simulation results to statistical probes from empirical data on within‐hibernaculum prevalence and survival, as well as among‐hibernacula spread across a region.

    Our results are consistent with frequency‐dependent transmission between bats, support an important role of environmental transmission, and show very little effect of dispersal among colonies on metapopulation survival.

    The results help identify the influential parameters and largest sources of uncertainty. The model also offers a generalizable method to assess hypotheses about hibernaculum‐to‐hibernaculum transmission and to identify gaps in knowledge about key processes, and could be expanded to include additional mechanisms or bat species.

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  5. Abstract Aim

    Populations of cold‐adapted species at the trailing edges of geographic ranges are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change from the combination of exposure to warm temperatures and high sensitivity to heat. Many of these species are predicted to decline under future climate scenarios, but they could persist if they can adapt to warming climates either physiologically or behaviourally. We aim to understand local variation in contemporary habitat use and use this information to identify signs of adaptive capacity. We focus on moose (Alces alces), a charismatic species of conservation and public interest.


    The northeastern United States, along the trailing edge of the moose geographic range in North America.


    We compiled data on occurrences and habitat use of moose from remote cameras and GPS collars across the northeastern United States. We use these data to build habitat suitability models at local and regional spatial scales and then to predict future habitat suitability under climate change. We also use fine‐scale GPS data to model relationships between habitat use and temperature on a daily temporal scale and to predict future habitat use.


    We find that habitat suitability for moose will decline under a range of climate change scenarios. However, moose across the region differ in their use of climatic and habitat space, indicating that they could exhibit adaptive capacity. We also find evidence for behavioural responses to weather, where moose increase their use of forested wetland habitats in warmer places and/or times.

    Main conclusions

    Our results suggest that there will be significant shifts in moose distribution due to climate change. However, if there is spatial variation in thermal tolerance, trailing‐edge populations could adapt to climate change. We highlight that prioritizing certain habitats for conservation (i.e., thermal refuges) could be crucial for this adaptation.

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  6. Abstract Aim

    Animal movement is an important determinant of individual survival, population dynamics and ecosystem structure and function. Nonetheless, it is still unclear how local movements are related to resource availability and the spatial arrangement of resources. Using resident bird species and migratory bird species outside the migratory period, we examined how the distribution of resources affects the movement patterns of both large terrestrial birds (e.g., raptors, bustards and hornbills) and waterbirds (e.g., cranes, storks, ducks, geese and flamingos).



    Time period


    Major taxa studied



    We compiled GPS tracking data for 386 individuals across 36 bird species. We calculated the straight‐line distance between GPS locations of each individual at the 1‐hr and 10‐day time‐scales. For each individual and time‐scale, we calculated the median and 0.95 quantile of displacement. We used linear mixed‐effects models to examine the effect of the spatial arrangement of resources, measured as enhanced vegetation index homogeneity, on avian movements, while accounting for mean resource availability, body mass, diet, flight type, migratory status and taxonomy and spatial autocorrelation.


    We found a significant effect of resource spatial arrangement at the 1‐hr and 10‐day time‐scales. On average, individual movements were seven times longer in environments with homogeneously distributed resources compared with areas of low resource homogeneity. Contrary to previous work, we found no significant effect of resource availability, diet, flight type, migratory status or body mass on the non‐migratory movements of birds.

    Main conclusions

    We suggest that longer movements in homogeneous environments might reflect the need for different habitat types associated with foraging and reproduction. This highlights the importance of landscape complementarity, where habitat patches within a landscape include a range of different, yet complementary resources. As habitat homogenization increases, it might force birds to travel increasingly longer distances to meet their diverse needs.

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