Silva, João Paulo

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João Paulo
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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Data package
    Data from: The gateway to Africa: what determines sea crossing performance of a migratory soaring bird at the strait of Gibraltar?
    (2020-03-08) Santos, Carlos David; Silva, João Paulo; Muñoz, Antonio-Román; Onrubia, Alejandro; Wikelski, Martin
    (1) Large bodies of water represent major obstacles for the migration of soaring birds because thermal updrafts are absent or weak over water. Soaring birds are known to time their water crossings with favourable weather conditions and there are records of birds falling into the water and drowning in large numbers. However, it is still unclear how environmental factors, individual traits and trajectory choices affect their water crossing performance, this being important to understand the fitness consequences of water barriers for this group of birds. (2) We addressed this problem using the black kite (Milvus migrans) as model species at a major migration bottleneck, the Strait of Gibraltar. (3) We recorded high‐resolution GPS and triaxial accelerometer data for 73 birds while crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, allowing the determination of sea crossing duration, length, altitude, speed and tortuosity, the flapping behaviour of birds and their failed crossing attempts. These parameters were modelled against wind speed and direction, time of the day, solar irradiance (proxy of thermal uplift), starting altitude and distance to Morocco, and age and sex of birds. (4) We found that sea crossing performance of black kites is driven by their age, the wind conditions, the starting altitude and distance to Morocco. Young birds made longer sea crossings and reached lower altitude above the sea than adults. Crosswinds promoted longer sea crossings, with birds reaching lower altitudes and with higher flapping effort. Birds starting at lower altitudes were more likely to quit or made higher flapping effort to complete the crossing. The location where birds started the sea crossings impacted crossing distance and duration. (5) We present evidence that explains why migrating soaring birds accumulate at sea passages during adverse weather conditions. Strong crosswinds during sea crossings force birds to extended flap‐powered flight at low altitude, which may increase their chances of falling in the water. We also showed that juvenile birds assume more risks than adults. Finally, the way in which birds start the sea crossing is crucial for their success, particularly the starting altitude, which dictates how far birds can reach with reduced flapping effort.
  • Data package
    Data from: Feeling the heat: elevated temperature affects male display activity of a lekking grassland bird
    (2019-09-05) Silva, João Paulo; Gudka, Mishal; Abad-Gómez, José Maria; Santos, Carlos David
    Most species-climate models relate range margins to long-term mean climate but lack mechanistic understanding of the ecological or demographic processes underlying the climate response. We examined the case of a climatically limited edge-of-range population of a medium-sized grassland bird, for which climate responses may involve a behavioural trade-off between temperature stress and reproduction. We hypothesised that temperature will be a limiting factor for the conspicuous, male snort-call display behaviour, and high temperatures would reduce the display activity of male birds. Using remote tracking technology with tri-axial accelerometers we classified and studied the display behaviour of 17 free-ranging male little bustards, Tetrax tetrax, at 5 sites in the Iberian Peninsula. Display behaviour was related to temperature using two classes of Generalized Additive Mixed Models (GAMMs) at different temporal resolutions. GAMMs showed that temperature, time of the day and Julian date explained variation in display behaviour within the day, with birds snort-calling significantly less during higher temperatures. We also showed that variation in daily snort-call activity was related to average daytime temperatures, with our model predicting an average decrease in daytime snort-call display activity of up to 10.4% for the temperature increases projected by 2100 in this region due to global warming. For lekking birds and mammals undertaking energetically-costly displays in a warming climate, reduced display behaviour could impact inter- and intra-sex mating behaviour interactions through sexual selection and mate choice mechanisms, with possible consequences on mating and reproductive success. The study provides a reproducible example for how accelerometer data can be used to answer research questions with important conservation inferences related to the impacts of climate change on a range of taxonomic groups.
  • Data package
    Data from: Wind farm turbines cause functional habitat loss for migratory soaring birds
    (2019-02-21) Marques, Ana Teresa; Santos, Carlos David; Hanssen, Frank; Muñoz, Antonio-Román; Onrubia, Alejandro; Wikelski, Martin; Moreira, Francisco; Palmeirim, Jorge Manuel; Silva, João Paulo
    NOTE: An updated and larger version of this dataset is available. See ABSTRACT: (1) Wind energy production has expanded to meet climate change mitigation goals, but negative impacts of wind turbines have been reported on wildlife. Soaring birds are among the most affected groups with alarming fatality rates by collision with wind turbines and an escalating occupation of their migratory corridors. These birds have been described as changing their flight trajectories to avoid wind turbines, but this behaviour may lead to functional habitat loss, as suitable soaring areas in the proximity of wind turbines will likely be underused. (2) We modelled the displacement effect of wind turbines on black kites (Milvus migrans) tracked by GPS. We also evaluated the impact of this effect at the scale of the landscape by estimating how much suitable soaring area was lost to wind turbines. (3) We used state‐of‐art tracking devices to monitor the movements of 130 black kites in an area populated by wind turbines, at the migratory bottleneck of the Strait of Gibraltar. Landscape use by birds was mapped from GPS data using dynamic Brownian bridge movement models and generalized additive mixed modelling was used to estimate the effect of wind turbine proximity on bird use while accounting for orographic and thermal uplift availability. (4) We found that areas up to approximately 674 m away from the turbines were less used than expected given their uplift potential. Within that distance threshold, bird use decreased with the proximity to wind turbines. We estimated that the footprint of wind turbines affected 3‐14% of the areas suitable for soaring in our study area. (5) We present evidence that the impacts of wind energy industry on soaring birds are greater than previously acknowledged. In addition to the commonly reported fatalities, the avoidance of turbines by soaring birds causes habitat losses in their movement corridors. Authorities should recognize this further impact of wind energy production and establish new regulations that protect soaring habitat. We also showed that soaring habitat for birds can be modelled at a fine scale using publicly available data. Such an approach can be used to plan low‐impact placement of turbines in new wind energy developments.