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Thesis paper by CESAM PhD student Camilo Carneiro highlighted in a journal’s cover

Thesis paper by CESAM PhD student Camilo Carneiro highlighted in a journal’s cover

The Icelandic subspecies of Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus islandicus), a long distance migratory wader and the focus of Camilo Carneiro’s PhD since 2015, was selected to be in the cover of the January 2019 issue of Journal of Avian Biology, highlighting the paper entitled “Faster migration in autumn than in spring: seasonal migration patterns and non?breeding distribution of Icelandic whimbrels Numenius phaeopus islandicus”. Journal of Avian Biology is an historical outlet for cutting edge ornithological research and is published by the Nordic Oikos Society, ranked 2nd in its area (Ornithology; IF = 2.49).

It has been previously revealed, in a paper led by Dr. José A. Alves (CESAM& dBio member) and published in Scientific Reports, that Icelandic Whimbrels are able to fly non-stop between Iceland and West Africa in autumn, but in spring these migratory birds either embark on a second non-stop flight to their breeding grounds or cover this distance in two steps spending a few days in a stopover area, often in UK or Ireland. In this new publication such knowledge is consolidated, the migration routes, wintering and stopover sites are mapped, the seasonal differences in migration duration and speed are assessed with potential causes for these migratory patterns being discussed. The timing of arrival into the breeding sites can influence the subsequent breeding success of birds, particularly at high latitudes such as Iceland. For this reason most seasonal migrants migrate faster in spring than in autumn. However, in the case of Icelandic Whimbrels the pattern is reversed, with individuals migrating faster in autumn than in spring. Seasonal variation in wind patterns could explain the differences observed in this study and the stopover in spring might allow the appraisal of weather conditions closer to the breeding areas and/or allow individuals to improve their body condition in order to arrive at the breeding sites with reserves.

Unravelling the carry-over effects and trade-offs undertaken by these birds in a climate change scenario is a focus of Camilo’s PhD thesis, within the doctoral program Biology and Ecology of Global Change at the University of Aveiro (CESAM/DBIO).

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