Departmental Seminar, Wednesday 22 August: "Flexible moult strategies allow waders to adjust to varying habitats in southern Africa"
The next Zoology Departmental Seminar will be presented by Dr Magda Remisiewicz at 13h00 on Wednesday 22 August in the Zoology Museum.
Magda is a researcher and lecturer in the Avian Ecophysiology Unit at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology and Ecology, University of Gdansk, Poland. Her research focuses on migration strategies of waders and passerines, and involves the use of ringing, molecular analyses and statistical modelling. Magda completed a post-doc at the ADU in 2008-2010, where she focused on the moult strategies of waders that migrate to southern Africa. During that time she undertook extensive fieldwork at Barberspan Bird Sanctuary in NW Province, concentrating on waders. She also invested a great deal of effort in training the reserve's field rangers in bird ringing and atlasing techniques. At the beginning of 2011 she returned to a teaching and research post at the University of Gdansk, but she visits South Africa and the ADU once or twice a year to continue her research.
The details are below:
Title: "Flexible moult strategies allow waders to adjust to varying habitats in southern Africa"
Abstract: Many waders migrate biannually within Africa or between their breeding grounds in Europe and their non-breeding areas in Africa. Two ecological groups are distinguished: waders that migrate to coastal habitats, which provide a rich and predictable food supply, and species that migrate to inland wetlands, which provide varied and unpredictable feeding conditions. Moult of large flight feathers, especially of the primaries, is critical for migrants to complete their journeys. Waders present a variety of strategies for their moult, which must fit in with their breeding and migration, the other main energy-intensive events in their life cycle. Recent applications of the Underhill-Zucchini moult models allowed an ADU-related team to examine moult timing down to individual feathers and to model the effects of environmental factors on moult. I will present inter- and intraspecific strategies that waders apply to their primary moult when they stay in southern Africa, in the context of their migration strategy, the birds’ size, age and individual condition, and the habitats they use. The flexibility of moult strategies adopted by waders using freshwater habitats suggests that they have mechanisms to adjust their genetically-controlled and hormonally-regulated moult to proximate factors such as feeding conditions. Discovering these mechanisms is one of the challenges for further studies of moult.
Date: 22 August 2012.
Venue: Zoology Museum, 3rd Floor, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town.
Time: 13h00 to 14h00.
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