Shrinking Red Knots

What ethical theory best applies to your experience?
January 22, 2020
The Transformation of the Teaching method in Barbados Schools
February 3, 2020
Show all

Shrinking Red Knots

Red knots are medium size birds that bread and make long-distance migration of up to 40,000 km. This type of bird breeds on islands of the Arctic regions.  During courtship, the male red knot flies into the air and start to sing. He glides around for a short while, and lands with the wings pointed up.  The female red knot lays four eggs in a depression formed on the ground. The nest of the red knot is lined with lichen. Both the parents incubate the eggs. Notably, the male red knot does most of the incubation. The chicks hatch after three weeks and start to fledge after a month. Red knots are able to match their lifecycle with that of insects hatching through adaptive timing of hatching. They can provide egg capsules that offer protection from insects and exclude natural enemies.

The ramification of a mismatch between bird hatch and insect hatch is the poor embryonic development rate. This is usually tied to environmental stimuli which can lead to changes in the expected time of hatching.  It can either be early hatching or delayed hatching, and this can expose the bird or insect to the danger of predators. Also, the mismatch will affect the fitness of the brood meaning that egg production and egg size will also be changed.

The article, Shrinking Bird Pays the Bill for Arctic Warming by Helen Brigs is informative as it gives the reason why red knot may have a lower rate of survival because of climate change.  Brigs claims that the shorebirds have reduced body size as a response to climate change. Scientific research shows that birds with a longer bill were able to eat nutritious foods, but, those with a shorter bill we forced to eat less nutritious foods.  The article explains that climate change has made food scarce and this is the reason the shorebirds are producing small offspring because they missed the main food supply during the early stage of development. Notably, change in habitat and body structure will have ecological consequences on red knots.