Åkesson, Susanne

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  • Data package
    Data from: Study "Tracking of Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) in the Swedish Baltic Sea 2017-2020"
    (2022-08-11) Åkesson, Susanne; Lötberg, Ulrik; Rueda-Uribe, Cristina
    The conservation of migratory species poses significant challenges that may be countered by detailed knowledge about the sites used by migrants throughout the annual cycle. We present the first GPS-tracking data on the migration of declining Caspian terns Hydroprogne caspia breeding in the Baltic Sea. For 39 Caspian terns from colonies along a latitudinal gradient from 57 to 65°N, we identified key migratory routes, stopovers and wintering areas. In autumn these seabirds migrated using coastal and freshwater stopovers along six routes to reach their wintering areas across the Sahel, the Nile River Basin and the southern Iberian Peninsula. In spring, adults returned to the breeding grounds in the Baltic using a time optimizing strategy by reducing time at stopover by 78%, whereas most subadults remained sedentary and some performed only partial return migrations. Of the stopover sites used in both seasons, 58% are protected and have a reported management plan. Conservation strategies in wintering areas, stopover sites that are not protected or had not been previously recognized, and the inclusion of the species in important migratory flyways across Europe and Africa will be important to prevent further population declines of a species that depends on aquatic habitats.
  • Data package
    Data from: Paternal transmission of migration knowledge in a long-distance bird migrant
    (2022-03-11) Byholm, Patrik; Beal, Martin; Lötberg, Ulrik; Åkesson, Susanne
    While advances in biologging have revealed many spectacular animal migrations, it remains poorly understood how young animals learn to migrate. Even in social species, it is unclear how migratory skills are transmitted from one generation to another and what implications this may have. Here we show that in Caspian terns Hydroprogne caspia family groups, genetic and foster male parents carry the main responsibility for migrating with young. During migration, young birds stayed close to an adult at all times, with the bond dissipating on wintering grounds. Solo-migrating adults migrated faster than did adults accompanying young. Four young that lost contact with their parent at an early stage of migration all died. During their first solo migration, subadult terns remained faithful to routes they took with their parents as young. Our results provide evidence for cultural inheritance of migration knowledge in a long-distance bird migrant and show that sex-biased (allo)parental care en route shape migration through social learning.