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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Individual example of red pharalope migration from tundra to marine habitats.

Photo: Manomet/Shiloh Schulte, Map: USFWS/Sarah Saalfeld

Saalfeld ST, Valcu M, Brown S, English W, Giroux MA, Harrison AL, Krietsch J, Kuletz K, Lamarre JF, Latty C, Lecomte N, McGuire R, Robards M, Scarpignato A, Schulte S, Smith PA, Kempenaers B, Lanctot RB

From land to sea: the fall migration of the red phalarope through the Western Hemisphere

Understanding how and where individuals migrate between breeding and wintering areas is important for assessing threats, identifying areas for conservation, and determining a species’ vulnerability to changing environmental conditions. From 2017 to 2020, Saalfeld and co-workers tracked 72 red phalaropes Phalaropus fulicarius with satellite tags from 7 Arctic-breeding sites to their wintering grounds in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. To make this journey, red phalaropes took indirect, circuitous routes that greatly increased the duration and distance of their southward migration, with one individual traveling over 24 000 km from Alaska to Chile. Individuals used a fly and forage migration strategy, frequently stopping where food was plentiful. By combining data across individuals, important stopover sites were identified that will be useful for conservation of the species. However, the numerous anthropogenic threats red phalaropes experience at sea will also need to be addressed.


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