Gilchrist, H. Grant

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Data package
    Data from: Northwest range shifts and shorter wintering period of an Arctic seabird in response to four decades of changing ocean climate
    (2021-11-29) Patterson, Allison; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Gaston, Anthony; Elliott, Kyle H.
    Climate change is altering the marine environment at a global scale, with some of the most dramatic changes occurring in Arctic regions. These changes may affect the distribution and migration patterns of marine species throughout the annual cycle. Species distribution models have provided detailed understanding of the responses of terrestrial species to climate changes, often based on observational data; biologging offers the opportunity to extend those models to migratory marine species that occur in marine environments where direct observation is difficult. We used species distribution modelling and tracking data to model past changes in the non-breeding distribution of thick-billed murres Uria lomvia from a colony in Hudson Bay, Canada, between 1982 and 2019. The predicted distribution of murres shifted during fall and winter. The largest shifts have occurred for fall migration, with range shits of 211 km west and 50 km north per decade, compared with a 29 km shift west per decade in winter. Regions of range expansions had larger declines in sea ice cover, smaller increases in sea surface temperature, and larger increases in air temperature than regions where the range was stable or declining. Murres migrate in and out of Hudson Bay as ice forms each fall and melts each spring. Habitat in Hudson Bay has become available later into the fall and earlier in the spring, such that habitat in Hudson Bay was available for 21 d longer in 2019 than in 1982. Clearly, marine climate is altering the distribution and annual cycle of migratory marine species that occur in areas with seasonal ice cover.
  • Data package
    Data from: First evidence of diverging migration and overwintering strategies in glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from the Canadian Arctic
    (2021-12-29) Baak, Julia E.; Patterson, Allison; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Elliott, Kyle H.
    Many seabird populations differ in their migration strategies, where individuals travel in different directions to separate wintering areas. These migratory strategies may expose individuals to different threats, thus understanding migratory connectivity is crucial to assess risks to populations. Glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) are generalist predators with flexible migratory behaviour that may alter these behaviours in response to climate change and anthropogenic activities, such as access to landfills, yet little is known about their migration. We deployed GPS and GLS tracking devices on glaucous gulls from Coats Island, Nunavut, Canada to obtain the first insights into their migration and habitat use outside of the breeding season. Gulls used two migration strategies during the non-breeding season, where one migrated as far as the Sea of Okhotsk in the Pacific and the remainder (n = 7) wintered in the North Atlantic. Gulls primarily overwintered in pelagic (56%) and coastal (38%) habitats. While in coastal habitats, one gull visited one landfill once, but visits increased with a 1 km and 3 km buffer, suggesting that urban glaucous gulls primarily used non-landfill habitats. This research can be used as a baseline to explore changes in migratory behaviour and inform future conservation of Arctic-breeding gulls.
  • Data package
    Data from: Study "Herring Gulls (Larus Argentatus); Gilchrist; East Bay Island, Canada"
    (2020-06-17) Gilchrist, H. Grant; Macdonald, Christie A.; Janssen, Michael H.; Allard, Karel A.; Anderson, Christine M.
    Background: Recent studies have proposed that birds migrating short distances migrate at an overall slower pace, minimizing energy expenditure, while birds migrating long distances minimize time spent on migration to cope with seasonal changes in environmental conditions. Methods: We evaluated variability in the migration strategies of Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus), a generalist species with flexible foraging and flight behaviour. We tracked one population of long distance migrants and three populations of short distance migrants, and compared the directness of their migration routes, their overall migration speed, their travel speed, and their use of stopovers. Results: Our research revealed that Herring Gulls breeding in the eastern Arctic migrate long distances to spend the winter in the Gulf of Mexico, traveling more than four times farther than gulls from Atlantic Canada during autumn migration. While all populations used indirect routes, the long distance migrants were the least direct. We found that regardless of the distance the population traveled, Herring Gulls migrated at a slower overall migration speed than predicted by Optimal Migration Theory, but the long distance migrants had higher speeds on travel days. While long distance migrants used more stopover days overall, relative to the distance travelled all four populations used a similar number of stopover days. Conclusions: When taken in context with other studies, we expect that the migration strategies of flexible generalist species like Herring Gulls may be more influenced by habitat and food resources than migration distance.