Stochastic simulations reveal few green wave surfing populations among spring migrating herbivorous waterfowl

dc.contributor.authorWang, Xin
dc.contributor.authorCao, Lei
dc.contributor.authorFox, Anthony D.
dc.contributor.authorFuller, Richard
dc.contributor.authorGriffin, Larry
dc.contributor.authorMitchell, Carl
dc.contributor.authorZhao, Yunlin
dc.contributor.authorMoon, Oun-Kyong
dc.contributor.authorCabot, David
dc.contributor.authorXu, Zhenggang
dc.contributor.authorBatbayar, Nyambayar
dc.contributor.authorKölzsch, Andrea
dc.contributor.authorvan der Jeugd, Henk P.
dc.contributor.authorMadsen, Jesper
dc.contributor.authorChen, Liding
dc.contributor.authorNathan, Ran
dc.contributor.funderNational Natural Science Foundation of Chinaen
dc.contributor.funderChina Biodiversity Observation Networksen
dc.contributor.funderScottish Natural Heritageen
dc.contributor.funderIsrael Science Foundationen
dc.contributor.funderMinerva Center for Movement Ecology, Hebrew University of Jerusalemen
dc.contributor.funderNational Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)en
dc.contributor.funderEuropean Space Agencyen
dc.contributor.funderHebrew University of Jerusalemen
dc.description.abstractTracking seasonally changing resources is regarded as a widespread proximate mechanism underpinning animal migration. Migrating herbivores, for example, are hypothesized to track seasonal foliage dynamics over large spatial scales. Previous investigations of this green wave hypothesis involved few species and limited geographical extent, and used conventional correlation that cannot disentangle alternative correlated effects. Here, we introduce stochastic simulations to test this hypothesis using 222 individual spring migration episodes of 14 populations of ten species of geese, swans and dabbling ducks throughout Europe, East Asia, and North America. We find that the green wave cannot be considered a ubiquitous driver of herbivorous waterfowl spring migration, as it explains observed migration patterns of only a few grazing populations in specific regions. We suggest that ecological barriers and particularly human disturbance likely constrain the capacity of herbivorous waterfowl to track the green wave in some regions, highlighting key challenges in conserving migratory birds.en
dc.description.sponsorshipNational Key Research and Development Program of China (grant no. 2016YFC0500406); National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants no. 31661143027, 31670424, 31500315); European Space Agency (Integrated Applications Promotion Programme, FlySafe); Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 2525/16); Hebrew University of Jerusalem (the Adelina and Massimo Della Pergola Chair of Life Sciences and China Scholarship Program).en
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden
dc.description.versionPublished Versionen
dc.identifier.citationWang, X., Cao, L., Fox, A. D., Fuller, R., Griffin, L., Mitchell, C., Zhao, Y., Moon, O.-K., Cabot, D., Xu, Z., Batbayar, N., Kölzsch, A., van der Jeugd, H. P., Madsen, J., Chen, L. and Nathan, R. (2019) 'Stochastic simulations reveal few green wave surfing populations among spring migrating herbivorous waterfowl', Nature Communications, 10(1), 2187 (12pp.) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11151-7en
dc.identifier.journaltitleNature Communicationsen
dc.publisherSpringer Nature Publishing AGen
dc.rights©The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
dc.subjectWidespread proximate mechanismen
dc.subjectAnimal migrationen
dc.subjectWave surfing populationsen
dc.subjectMigrating herbivorous waterfowlen
dc.subjectStochastic simulationsen
dc.titleStochastic simulations reveal few green wave surfing populations among spring migrating herbivorous waterfowlen
dc.typeArticle (peer-reviewed)en
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