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University of Manitoba researchers made a recent discovery that suggests Purple Martins, unlike other long-distance migratory songbirds, show promise of being able to adapt to climate change.
The Purple Martin's (Progne subis) breeding range spans from Florida to northern Alberta, and the smartphone-sized songbird passes our winter months on small islands in the Amazon river, 10,000 kilometers south of Canada's prairies. So far away, they lack all cues on what is happening in northern environments, and that is problematic because as the climate warms, spring arrives earlier and earlier in northern latitudes, meaning the insects these birds depend upon on are hatching earlier—often before these birds arrive, famished and stressed.
Birds - Canada - Delay - Selection - Pressure
If the birds are going to survive in Canada, they need to arrive earlier and then breed without delay. Is natural selection pressure bringing this about?
In their December 2019 Ecosphere paper, "Timing to temperature: egg laying dates respond to temperature and are under stronger selection at northern latitudes," biological sciences masters student and lead author Amanda Shave, her Faculty of Science advising professor Kevin Fraser, UM collaborator Colin Garroway, and Joe Siegrist, leader of the Purple Martin...
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