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Influence of climate change on productivity of American White Pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

PLoS ONE

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083430

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Abstract

In the past decade, severe weather and West Nile virus were major causes of chick mortality at American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) colonies in the northern plains of North America. At one of these colonies, Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota, spring arrival by pelicans has advanced approximately 16 days over a period of 44 years (1965–2008). We examined phenology patterns of pelicans and timing of inclement weather through the 44-year period, and evaluated the consequence of earlier breeding relative to weather-related chick mortality. We found severe weather patterns to be random through time, rather than concurrently shifting with the advanced arrival of pelicans. In recent years, if nest initiations had followed the phenology patterns of 1965 (i.e., nesting initiated 16 days later), fewer chicks likely would have died from weather-related causes. That is, there would be fewer chicks exposed to severe weather during a vulnerable transition period that occurs between the stage when chicks are being brooded by adults and the stage when chicks from multiple nests become part of a thermally protective crèche.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Influence of climate change on productivity of American White Pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Series title:
PLoS ONE
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0083430
Volume
9
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Public Library of Science
Contributing office(s):
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description:
8 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Number of Pages:
8
Country:
United States
State:
North Dakota
County:
Stutsman County
Other Geospatial:
Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Online Only (Y/N):
Y