News

Welcome aboard to our new student Eran Altschuler

25 October 2018

We welcome our new M.Sc. student Eran Altschuler!

Congratulations and warm wishes to our students Inbal and Yosef

27 January 2018

To Inbal for the birth of her daughter, and to Yosef for the birth of his son. We wish them and their families joy and happiness

« »

New publications

Feather moult and bird appearance are correlated with global warming over the last 200 years

05 July 2019

Kiat, Y., Vortman, Y., and N. Sapir. (2019) Feather moult and bird appearance are correlated with global warming over the last 200 years. Nature Communications 10 (2540). doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10452-1 ABSTRACT...

Fruit consumption in migratory passerines is limited by water ingestion rather than by body water balance

05 July 2019

Domer, A., Shochat, A., Ovadia, O., and N. Sapir (2019) Fruit consumption in migratory passerines is limited by water ingestion rather than by body water balance. Journal of Avian Biology...

« »

Home range size and resource use of breeding and non-breeding white storks along a land use gradient

Zurell, D., von Wehrden, H., Rotics, S., Kaatz, M., Gross, H., Schlag, L., Schäfer, M., Sapir, N., Turjeman, S., Wikelski, M., Nathan, R. and Jeltsch, F. 2018. Home range size and resource use of breeding and non-breeding white storks along a land use gradient. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6: 79. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2018.00079

ABSTRACT

Biotelemetry is increasingly used to study animal movement at high spatial and temporal resolution and guide conservation and resource management. Yet, limited sample sizes and variation in space and habitat use across regions and life stages may compromise robustness of behavioral analyses and subsequent conservation plans. Here, we assessed variation in (i) home range sizes, (ii) home range selection, and (iii) fine-scale resource selection of white storks across breeding status and regions and test model transferability. Three study areas were chosen within the Central German breeding grounds ranging from agricultural to fluvial and marshland. We monitored GPS-locations of 62 adult white storks equipped with solar-charged GPS/3D-acceleration (ACC) transmitters in 2013–2014. Home range sizes were estimated using minimum convex polygons. Generalized linear mixed models were used to assess home range selection and fine-scale resource selection by relating the home ranges and foraging sites to Corine habitat variables and normalized difference vegetation index in a presence/pseudo-absence design. We found strong variation in home range sizes across breeding stages with significantly larger home ranges in non-breeding compared to breeding white storks, but no variation between regions. Home range selection models had high explanatory power and well predicted overall density of Central German white stork breeding pairs. Also, they showed good transferability across regions and breeding status although variable importance varied considerably. Fine-scale resource selection models showed low explanatory power. Resource preferences differed both across breeding status and across regions, and model transferability was poor. Our results indicate that habitat selection of wild animals may vary considerably within and between populations, and is highly scale dependent. Thereby, home range scale analyses show higher robustness whereas fine-scale resource selection is not easily predictable and not transferable across life stages and regions. Such variation may compromise management decisions when based on data of limited sample size or limited regional coverage. We thus recommend home range scale analyses and sampling designs that cover diverse regional landscapes and ensure robust estimates of habitat suitability to conserve wild animal populations.

About us

We are a group of scientists devoted to the study of animal flight, including animal movement ecology, behavior, physiology and biomechanics. We study wild animals in the field and in the lab using a diversity of research approaches. We welcome applications for M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies and post-doctoral work in our group at the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology at the University of Haifa.