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Science. 2010 Jan 15;327(5963):326-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1183010.

Lower predation risk for migratory birds at high latitudes.

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Département de Biologie, Université du Québec à Rimouski and Centre d'Etudes Nordiques, Rimouski, Québec, G5L3A1, Canada.


Quantifying the costs and benefits of migration distance is critical to understanding the evolution of long-distance migration. In migratory birds, life history theory predicts that the potential survival costs of migrating longer distances should be balanced by benefits to lifetime reproductive success, yet quantification of these reproductive benefits in a controlled manner along a large geographical gradient is challenging. We measured a controlled effect of predation risk along a 3350-kilometer south-north gradient in the Arctic and found that nest predation risk declined more than twofold along the latitudinal gradient. These results provide evidence that birds migrating farther north may acquire reproductive benefits in the form of lower nest predation risk.

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