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The lunar cycle drives migration of a nocturnal bird.
PLoS Biol 2019; 17(10):e3000456PB

Abstract

Every year, billions of seasonal migrants connect continents by transporting nutrients, energy, and pathogens between distant communities and ecosystems. For animals that power their movements by endogenous energy stores, the daily energy intake rates strongly influence the speed of migration. If access to food resources varies cyclically over the season, migrants sensitive to changes in daily energy intake rates may adjust timing of migration accordingly. As an effect, individuals adjusting to a common temporal cycle are expected to approach synchrony in foraging and movement. A large-scale periodic pattern, such as the dark-light cycle of the moon, could thus synchronize migrations across animal populations. However, such cyclic effects on the temporal regulation of migration has not been considered. Here, we show the temporal influence of the lunar cycle on the movement activity and migration tactics in a visual hunting nocturnal insectivore and long-distance migrant, the European nightjar, Caprimulgus europeaus. We found that the daily foraging activity more than doubled during moonlit nights, likely driven by an increase in light-dependent fuelling opportunities. This resulted in a clear cyclicity also in the intensity of migratory movements, with occasionally up to 100% of the birds migrating simultaneously following periods of full moon. We conclude that cyclic influences on migrants can act as an important regulator of the progression of individuals and synchronize pulses of migratory populations, with possible downstream effects on associated communities and ecosystems.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

31613884

Citation

Norevik, Gabriel, et al. "The Lunar Cycle Drives Migration of a Nocturnal Bird." PLoS Biology, vol. 17, no. 10, 2019, pp. e3000456.
Norevik G, Åkesson S, Andersson A, et al. The lunar cycle drives migration of a nocturnal bird. PLoS Biol. 2019;17(10):e3000456.
Norevik, G., Åkesson, S., Andersson, A., Bäckman, J., & Hedenström, A. (2019). The lunar cycle drives migration of a nocturnal bird. PLoS Biology, 17(10), pp. e3000456. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000456.
Norevik G, et al. The Lunar Cycle Drives Migration of a Nocturnal Bird. PLoS Biol. 2019;17(10):e3000456. PubMed PMID: 31613884.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The lunar cycle drives migration of a nocturnal bird. AU - Norevik,Gabriel, AU - Åkesson,Susanne, AU - Andersson,Arne, AU - Bäckman,Johan, AU - Hedenström,Anders, Y1 - 2019/10/15/ PY - 2019/06/29/received PY - 2019/09/11/accepted PY - 2019/10/16/entrez PY - 2019/10/16/pubmed PY - 2019/10/16/medline SP - e3000456 EP - e3000456 JF - PLoS biology JO - PLoS Biol. VL - 17 IS - 10 N2 - Every year, billions of seasonal migrants connect continents by transporting nutrients, energy, and pathogens between distant communities and ecosystems. For animals that power their movements by endogenous energy stores, the daily energy intake rates strongly influence the speed of migration. If access to food resources varies cyclically over the season, migrants sensitive to changes in daily energy intake rates may adjust timing of migration accordingly. As an effect, individuals adjusting to a common temporal cycle are expected to approach synchrony in foraging and movement. A large-scale periodic pattern, such as the dark-light cycle of the moon, could thus synchronize migrations across animal populations. However, such cyclic effects on the temporal regulation of migration has not been considered. Here, we show the temporal influence of the lunar cycle on the movement activity and migration tactics in a visual hunting nocturnal insectivore and long-distance migrant, the European nightjar, Caprimulgus europeaus. We found that the daily foraging activity more than doubled during moonlit nights, likely driven by an increase in light-dependent fuelling opportunities. This resulted in a clear cyclicity also in the intensity of migratory movements, with occasionally up to 100% of the birds migrating simultaneously following periods of full moon. We conclude that cyclic influences on migrants can act as an important regulator of the progression of individuals and synchronize pulses of migratory populations, with possible downstream effects on associated communities and ecosystems. SN - 1545-7885 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31613884/The_lunar_cycle_drives_migration_of_a_nocturnal_bird L2 - http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000456 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -