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Site fidelity in Oystercatchers: An Ecological Trap?

Onrust, J. (2010) Site fidelity in Oystercatchers: An Ecological Trap? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The population of Oystercatchers (Heamatopus ostralegus) in the Netherlands declined dramatically during the last two decades as a result of deteriorating food conditions in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Oystercatchers are highly territorial and show strong site fidelity which is the tendency to return to a previously occupied location. Site fidelity may be favoured because long-term familiarity with a territory and its surroundings should lead to increased individual survival and higher fitness. To acquire a territory an Oystercatchers have to build up local dominance which forces a bird to stay at one place for many years. Consequently, this site fidelity works as an ecological trap. An ecological trap occurs when a bird chooses to stay in low quality habitat although high quality territories are available. Oystercatchers decide to stay because leaving would be detrimental as they have to build up local dominance all over again. Only if food conditions and thus habitat quality will improve, the Oystercatcher population can be saved from further decline.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:44
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:44

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