Studies from University of Connecticut Reveal New Findings on Ecology and Evolution (Urban Living Influences the Nesting Success of Darwin’s Finches In the Galapagos Islands)

23 April 2021
Publication Pre-Print; Ecology, Environment and Conservation

2021 APR 30 (VerticalNews) — By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Ecology, Environment & Conservation — Fresh data on Ecology Research – Ecology and Evolution are presented in a new report. According to news originating from Storrs, Connecticut, by VerticalNews correspondents, research stated, “Urbanization is expanding worldwide with major consequences for organisms. Anthropogenic factors can reduce the fitness of animals but may have benefits, such as consistent human food availability.”

Funders for this research include Research Excellence Program Grant from the University of ConnecticutNational Science Foundation (NSF), American Ornithological Society Hesse Research Award, American Museum of Natural History Gerstner Scholar Fellowship.

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of Connecticut, “Understanding anthropogenic trade-offs is critical in environments with variable levels of natural food availability, such as the Galapagos Islands, an area of rapid urbanization. For example, during dry years, the reproductive success of bird species, such as Darwin’s finches, is low because reduced precipitation impacts food availability. Urban areas provide supplemental human food to finches, which could improve their reproductive success during years with low natural food availability. However, urban finches might face trade-offs, such as the incorporation of anthropogenic debris (e.g., string, plastic) into their nests, which may increase mortality. In our study, we determined the effect of urbanization on the nesting success of small ground finches (Geospiza fuliginosa; a species of Darwin’s finch) during a dry year on San Cristobal Island. We quantified nest building, egg laying and hatching, and fledging in an urban and nonurban area and characterized the anthropogenic debris in nests. We also documented mortalities including nest trash-related deaths and whether anthropogenic materials directly led to entanglement- or ingestion-related nest mortalities. Overall, urban finches built more nests, laid more eggs, and produced more fledglings than nonurban finches. However, every nest in the urban area contained anthropogenic material, which resulted in 18% nestling mortality while nonurban nests had no anthropogenic debris. Our study showed that urban living has trade-offs: urban birds have overall higher nesting success during a dry year than nonurban birds, but urban birds can suffer mortality from anthropogenic-related nest-materials.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These results suggest that despite potential costs, finches benefit overall from urban living and urbanization may buffer the effects of limited resource availability in the Galapagos Islands.”

For more information on this research see: Urban Living Influences the Nesting Success of Darwin’s Finches In the Galapagos Islands. Ecology and Evolution, 2021. Ecology and Evolution can be contacted at: Wiley, 111 River St, Hoboken 07030-5774, NJ, USA. (Wiley-Blackwell – www.wiley.com/; Ecology and Evolution – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)2045-7758)

The news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained from Johanna A. Harvey, University of Connecticut, Dept. of Ecology and Evolution Biology, Storrs, CT, United States. Additional authors for this research include Kiley Chernicky, Shelby R. Simons, Taylor B. Verrett, Sarah A. Knutie and Jaime A. Chaves.

Read the original coverage via ResearchGate at https://www.researchgate.net/figure/fig2_342829639


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© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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