Evolutionary ecology and hydrology - the effects of stream flow dynamics on the white-throated dipper
About the project
In this project, we take an interdisciplinary approach and use a novel method of simulating daily hydrological runoff on a small spatial scale and apply it to an exclusive long-term study of breeding white-throated dippers Cinclus cinclus. This proposal provides a unique opportunity to understand how variation in the key local environment affects the ecology and evolution of a top predator of freshwater ecosystems. Floods, droughts and freezing of the river occur on a small spatial scale determined by the local hydro-meteorology and topography and can have severe consequences influencing the ecology and the evolutionary processes. Water flow dynamics also has potential to change due to climate change as well as due to riverine basin regulations caused by hydropower production.
We therefore propose to analyse how environmental variation in terms of water flow dynamics (B1) affect breeding parameters and territory occupancy, leading to an understanding of how birds perceive habitat quality, (B2) determine the amount of phenotypic plasticity and estimate selection and heritability, (B3) including knowledge of migration and population age composition, influence the population dynamics, and (B4) influence the effects of liming and the subsequent competition of the recovered salmonid population on territory occupancy and population dynamics of the white-throated dipper population.
This project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.
01.07.2013 - 30.06.2016