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Publication update - 26/08/2019: Referred to it by the LPO, The French Council of State modified the decree allowing hunting of 6000 Curlews in the 2019/20 season, fixing the quota at ZERO to meet France's obligations under Bird Directive and AEWA, with immediate effect. No more curlews to be shot this season!  https://twitter.com/numenini/status/1166281289818939392?s=20 Publication update - 05/08/2019: Considering the France's lack of compiliance with AEWA, the IWSG has submitted a call to UNEP AEWA to undertake an Implementation Review Process: https://twitter.com/WaderStudy/status/1157331246793527298 Original post: A French decree allowing the hunting of 6 000 Eurasian Curlew have been subject to public consultation. The 2019 hunting season will start the first Saturday of August in the Public Maritime Domain and on 15th September in remaining areas. In a letter sent this week to the French ministry, the expert committee on adaptive management, mainly formed by academic researchers, regrets that its concerns and recommendations have been not addressed by the government. The expert committee recommended, in its Opinion to the Minister of the Ecological and Solidary Transition, to not authorize any curlew harvest throughout the national territory, including the Maritime Public Domain, until significant knowledge gaps and related uncertainties linked to available data on the demography of the species, the spatial distribution of populations and hunting practices, have been addressed. The previous hunting bag of Curlew was estimated to be 6 961 individuals in 2013/14 (Aubry et al. 2016). The quotas of 6 000 individuals proposed in the decree were not supported by any adaptive harvest management (AHM) process because the expert committee was not able to evaluate the impact of hunting on the population dynamics and therefore could not decide on any sustainable hunting bag.
The expert committee on adaptive management in its Opinion about Eurasian Curlew AHM: “It is not possible to determine the level of a sustainable harvest without information on overwintering curlews in France, the winter destinations of European breeding populations, and therefore on the different populations subject to hunting in France. Access to harvest data is essential to determine i) their level accurately, ii) the origin of birds hunted by the stable isotope method, and iii) the age of the birds captured (notably on the basis of data that has been collected for more than ten years). The lack of information on these three parameters results in a set of many unverifiable assumptions that made the projections of the sustainable demographic models unsafe. For example, if the hunting bag in France is 9 500 individuals (the upper confidence interval of hunting bag estimates in 2013/2014), and it is made up of 70% of West-European birds and the harvest rate is independent of age, then the European harvest would consists of 6 650 individuals including 5 320 adults. On the other hand, if the harvest is 4 400 individuals with 10% of West-European birds with a hunting rate two times larger on juveniles, then the harvest on European populations would consists of 440 individuals including 265 adults. Between those two possible scenarios, there is a factor of 20 in the estimated harvest levels, a too important gap to build pertinent recommendations.” Complete expert commitee Opinion (in French) at: http://www.oncfs.gouv.fr//IMG/pdf/gestion-adaptative/Avis-CEGA-Courlis-cendre.pdf
As a reminder, according to the International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Eurasian Curlew (Brown 2015), France has promised to ensure that any harvest of Curlews is sustainable or otherwise to apply a complete moratorium of hunting until the AHM process has been established. France was the last European country to hunt Eurasian Curlew, classified as Vulnerable in both European regional and EU27 assessments of the European Red List of Birds due to the undergoing rapid population declines across the European part of its extremely large global range. [caption id="attachment_12596" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Much has been done, in terms of financial and human investments in Europe, to try to recover, or at least prevent further declines of Curlew breeding populations (7 Life programmes granted by the EU since 2007 according to the Life programme Database of European Commission 2018). To coordinate all these efforts for the recovery of the Eurasian Curlew, the species is part of the recent International 2018-2028 Multi-Species Action Plan for the Conservation of Breeding Waders in Wet Grassland Habitats in Europe (Leyrer et al. 2018). Image: (c) D. Allemand[/caption]   Link to the 30/07/19 adopted decree at: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000038864820&categorieLien=id Aubry P., Anstett L., Ferrand Y., Reitz F., Klein F., Ruette S., Sarasa M., Arnauduc J.-P. & Migot P. (2016) Enquête nationale sur les tableaux de chasse à tir - Saison 2013-2014. Résultats nationaux. Faune Sauvage, 310 - Supplément 1, I-VIII. Brown D.J. (2015) International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata arquata, N. a. orientalis and N. a. suschkini. AEWA Technical Series No. 58. Bonn, Germany. Leyrer J., Brown D., Gerritsen G., Hötker H. & Ottva L. (2018) International Multi-species Action Plan for the conservation of breeding waders in wet grassland habitats in Europe (2018-2028). Report of Action A13 under the framework of Project LIFE EuroSAP (LIFE14 PRE/UK/002). NABU, RSPB, VBN & SO. Featured image: ©F. Cahez
Zero Quota for the hunting of Curlew in France!

Publication update - 26/08/2019: Referred to it by the LPO, The French Council of State modified the decree allowing hunting of 6000 Curlews in the 2019/20 season, fixing the quota at ZERO to meet France's obligations under Bird Directive and AEWA, with immediate effect. No more curlews to be shot this season!  https://twitter.com/numenini/status/1166281289818939392?s=20 Publication update - 05/08/2019: Considering the France's lack of compiliance with AEWA, the IWSG has submitted a call to

On July 5, 2019, the World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe “the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I)” into the World Heritage List, at the 43 session of the World Heritage Convention. The site features intertidal areas of the Yellow Sea/Gulf of Bohai which are of global importance for the gathering of shorebirds species that use the East Asian-Australasian flyway including 17 globally threatened migratory shorebirds species such as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (Critically Endangered) and Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis (Endangered). [caption id="attachment_12575" align="aligncenter" width="626"] The two components of the property are (i) the Jiangsu Dafeng National Nature Reserve, the southern section and Dongsha Experimental Zone of Jiangsu Yancheng National Nature Reserve and the Tiaozini area and (ii) YS-2 the middle section of Jiangsu Yancheng National Nature Reserve. The total area of the two components is 188,643 ha plus a buffer zone of 80,056 ha.  (c)Unesco World Heritage Convention https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1606[/caption]   Read more: East Asian-Australasian Flyway : https://www.eaaflyway.net/coast-of-yellow-sea-bohai-gulf-of-china-phase-i-inscribed-on-the-wh-list/ BirdLife international: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/yellow-sea-shorebird-habitats-secure-world-heritage-listing?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+BirdLife-news-posts-blogs+(BirdLife+Posts)&utm_term=Feed+Post Unesco World Heritage Convention: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1606/   Featured image: © Yancheng Broadcasting Television
Coast of Yellow Sea- Bohai Gulf of China inscribed on the World Heritage List

On July 5, 2019, the World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe “the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I)” into the World Heritage List, at the 43 session of the World Heritage Convention. The site features intertidal areas of the Yellow Sea/Gulf of Bohai which are of global importance for the gathering of shorebirds species that use the East Asian-Australasian flyway including 17 globally threatened migratory shorebirds species such as

Climate and ecosystems are changing, but predation on shorebird nests has changed little across the globe over the past 60 years, finds an international team of 60 researchers (Martin Bulla -Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Jeroen Reneerkens - NIOZ University of Groningen, Emily L. Weiser - U.S. Geological Survey, et al.). The study published in Science on 14 June 2019 challenges a recent study finding that shorebird eggs are more often eaten by predators due to climate change, and more so in the Arctic compared to the tropics. The research shows that these claims could be due to a methodological artefact. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6445/eaaw8529
Comment on “Global pattern of nest predation is disrupted by climate change in shorebirds”
  No evidence for increased egg predation in the Arctic
  Response to Comment on “Global pattern of nest predation is disrupted by climate change in shorebirds”
Vojtěch Kubelka and co-authors response to comment of Bulla et al. reafirming their previous outcomes: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6445/eaaw9893
   
Featured image: Knot on nest at the study site near Nome, Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA (photo:James Johnson).
No clear evidence that “the Arctic is no longer a safe haven for shorebirds”

Climate and ecosystems are changing, but predation on shorebird nests has changed little across the globe over the past 60 years, finds an international team of 60 researchers (Martin Bulla -Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Jeroen Reneerkens - NIOZ University of Groningen, Emily L. Weiser - U.S. Geological Survey, et al.). The study published in Science on 14 June 2019 challenges a recent study finding that shorebird eggs are more often eaten by predators due to climate change, and more so

The 2019 meeting of IWSG will be in Morecambe, United Kingdom on 20–23 September. As well as the usual mix of fascinating talks from far and wide during the weekend, there will be several local excursions on Friday and a workshop on managing predator impacts for the conservation of breeding waders on Monday. All information - Registration and abstract submission - are there: 2019 Morecambe, UK
2019 IWSG conference – Morecambe | Don’t forget to register and submit your abstract by July 31

The 2019 meeting of IWSG will be in Morecambe, United Kingdom on 20–23 September. As well as the usual mix of fascinating talks from far and wide during the weekend, there will be several local excursions on Friday and a workshop on managing predator impacts for the conservation of breeding waders on Monday. All information - Registration and abstract submission - are there: 2019 Morecambe, UK

We are happy to announce that we have chosen to award the 2018 IWSG Small Grants to:  

Thomas Mondain-Monval (UK) for the project "Identifying the wintering grounds of Common Sandpipers in the UK using stable isotope analysis".

Through analyses of the stable isotope signature of feathers and toenails of common sandpipers the project looks to see 1) where birds breeding in Cumbria, UK, spend the winter and whether this influences reproductive success; (2) whether wintering birds primarily use coastal or inland habitats and (3) compare the wintering locations of birds identified through stable isotope analysis and geolocators. [caption id="attachment_12466" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Thomas @TMondain conducts a PhD research project at Lancaster University on factors affecting the common sandpiper at each stage of its lifecycle with the aim to aim to construct a model of population change. His birds birds were equipped with geolocators on red leg flags (left tarsus) and yellow ring with a black two alpha code (on right tibia).[/caption]

Christian Höfs (Germany) and Tim van der Meer (Netherlands): "Dotterel distribution and site faithfulness in Ammanäs, Sweden".

Through colour-ringing the project aims to highlight the site faithfulness of the Dotterel, coupled with a remote sensing based species distribution model, which predictions  will be evaluated on the basis of the colour-ring study results. The ultimate aim is to shed light on the knowledge of the species distribution and  predict their response to environmental change. [caption id="attachment_12471" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Christian and Tim have started a colour-ringing project on the Eurasian Dotterel in 2018 as the basement for further geo-tagging and habitat studies. https://overthetreeline.wordpress.com/colour-ring-projects/eurasian-dotterel/[/caption] The IWSG Small Grant Committee received many interesting and worthy project proposals. We encourage all members to consider applying for the next round of IWSG Small Grants. It will be announced on this webiste and IWSG social media, when the 2019 round is open.   Featured image: Dotterel in the breeding grounds, ©Christian Hoefs.
The 2018 IWSG Small Grant winners

We are happy to announce that we have chosen to award the 2018 IWSG Small Grants to:   Thomas Mondain-Monval (UK) for the project "Identifying the wintering grounds of Common Sandpipers in the UK using stable isotope analysis". Through analyses of the stable isotope signature of feathers and toenails of common sandpipers the project looks to see 1) where birds breeding in Cumbria, UK, spend the winter and whether this influences reproductive success; (2) whether wintering birds primarily

Pictures shared by David Stroud. A definitive new global synthesis of the state of nature, ecosystems and nature's contributions to people — the first such report since the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment published in 2005, and the first ever that is inter-governmental — has been approved by representatives of 132 Governments during the the seventh session of the IPBES Plenary (#IPBES7), 29 April – 4 May 2019, Paris. Prepared by 150 leading international experts from 50 countries, balancing representation from the natural and social sciences, with additional contributions from a further 250 experts, working with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services will inform better policies and actions in the coming decade. David Stroud was happy to shared with us that the final IPBES plenary where governments have just adopted the global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services was chaired by Bar-tailed Godwit as you can see there: [caption id="attachment_12346" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Bar-tailed Godwit at the IPBES7. (c) D. Stroud,the 4th May 2019, Paris.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12347" align="aligncenter" width="330"] the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Plenary, have take place from 29 April to 4 May 2019 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. (c) D. Stroud,the 4th May 2019, Paris.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12350" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Bar-tailed Godwit at the IPBES7.[/caption] The repport will be publicly launched at a press conference on Monday, 6 May 2019 in Paris.
Godwit presiding over the final IPBES 7th plenary session

Pictures shared by David Stroud. A definitive new global synthesis of the state of nature, ecosystems and nature's contributions to people — the first such report since the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment published in 2005, and the first ever that is inter-governmental — has been approved by representatives of 132 Governments during the the seventh session of the IPBES Plenary (#IPBES7), 29 April – 4 May 2019, Paris. Prepared by 150 leading international experts from 50 countries,

Like finding a needle in a haystack. You can imagine a researcher muttering this phrase while peering through a spotting scope and trying to find a rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea amid a large flock of nearly identical shorebirds. The distinctive spoon-shaped bill is often hidden from view making the bird especially hard to find. Even after a glimpse of the iconic bill, the researcher must watch until both legs can be seen well enough to determine if the bird has a leg flag. This often takes a while, and yet time is limited, because the survey must be completed while the tide is high. As the tide falls, the birds will spread out onto mudflats that stretch 50 km out to sea. The researcher cannot follow. Surveys are restricted to the upper mudflats because if humans venture out too far, they are at risk of drowning! In this issue of Wader Study, Chang and colleagues explain why they conduct research like this; why they have banded together from across the globe to count Spoon-billed Sandpipers in Tiaozini, China. They report how field data, collected over two consecutive years, was combined with sophisticated statistical models to produce a reliable estimate of the number of Spoon-billed Sandpipers using this important coastal region1. [caption id="attachment_12905" align="alignnone" width="700"] Spoon-billed sandpipers at Tiaozini are mixed in with other much more numerous shorebird species. (photo: Guy Anderson/RSPB).[/caption] Spoon-billed Sandpipers truly are like needles in a haystack. The world population is only about 700 individuals and they are one of the world’s most threatened migratory bird species. On their way between breeding sites in the Chukotka region of Russia and wintering sites in south-east Asia, the birds rely on a small number of staging areas around the Yellow Sea. Spoon-billed Sandpipers were first recorded at Tiaozini and other sites within the Dongtai-Rudong mudflats of Jiangsu Province in 2008. They need these sites to rest and moult during fall migration. Establishing a reliable estimate of the number of Spoon-billed Sandpipers using these sites is vital because of the perilous conservation status of the species and because the mudflat habitat in the Yellow Sea as a whole is itself threatened. Finding this estimate, and putting it into the context of the wider world population, is what Chang and colleagues set out to do. They conducted field surveys on the mudflats at Tiaozini from 2 – 10 October 2017 and 5 – 15 September 2018. As described above, the first step was finding the birds and the second was identifying individuals. How does one identify an individual Spoon-billed Sandpiper? The best way was to make use of plastic leg flags with unique engravings. Most of these flags had been applied to adults and chicks on the breeding grounds in Russia as part previous studies. The researchers considered birds with such flags as “individually marked”. [caption id="attachment_12903" align="alignnone" width="700"] Juvenile spoon-billed sandpipers are rare at Tiaozini in autumn (over 95% of birds are moulting adults). This individual was leg-flagged as a chick on the breeding grounds in Russia. (photo: Guy Anderson/RSPB).[/caption] The researchers’ work on the mudflats provided two vital data points needed for statistical models used to estimate the overall population of birds: (1) the number of individually marked birds present and (2) the proportion of marked versus unmarked birds seen during the surveys. With these two values in hand, the researchers could estimate the total number of birds present by dividing the model-averaged estimate of the number of marked birds by the proportion of marked birds. The researchers used closed population capture-recapture models which assume no arrivals, departures, or deaths of birds at the study site during the survey periods. This is reasonable because the birds were moulting their primary wing feathers during the surveys and were thus unlikely to be able to fly large distances. Furthermore, the survey periods were very short (7 days for 2017 and 9 days for 2018) and, although some deaths could occur, the number would be low – only 0.5% to 0.7% of adults. The combination of field data and statistical modelling produced similar estimates (high repeatability) of the number birds on the mudflats within the Tiaozini study area over the two years. The estimates were 220 birds in 2017 and 224 birds in 2018. Because there was no evidence of population change between the years, the researchers averaged the two values for a best estimate of 222 birds (95% confidence interval 196–258). Now, 222 birds may not seem like a lot, but let’s put this in the context of the world population. To be specific, the world population of adults since nearly all of the birds observed in this study were at least one calendar year old, thus the population estimates refer to adults. This number was estimated at 533 individuals in the fall of 20142. If this estimate is valid for 2017 and 2018, then about 40% of the world population of adult Spoon-billed Sandpipers was at Tiaozini in those autumns. Why are these mudflats so important to Spoon-billed Sandpipers? The researchers speculate that a high tidal range, a large area of mudflat available during the tidal cycle and a thin layer of fine mud on top of firmer sand may be important to foraging birds. The site may also be a refuge for birds displaced from other areas where the habitat has been degraded or lost. Loss of habitat is a large part of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’s problem. Mudflats in Tiaozini are threatened, as are mudflats all over the Yellow Sea3. Considerable areas of habitat have disappeared for land reclamation projects, wind and solar power generation farms, aquaculture ponds and rice fields. Where habitat remains, it is being degraded by the invasion of Smooth Cordgrass Spartina alterniflora which makes mudflats unsuitable for most shorebird species. [caption id="attachment_12902" align="alignnone" width="700"] Mudflats at Tiaozini from the sea wall constructed to create aquaculture ponds and ricefields. Further land claim has ceased, but clumps of Spartina are colonising the remaining flats and may render the site unsuitable for most shorebirds in a few years if not controlled. (photo: Guy Anderson/RSPB).[/caption] The mudflats of Tiaozini are clearly important for about 40% of adult Spoon-billed Sandpipers, but where might the others be? The researchers have found birds elsewhere in Jiangsu Province and, though these sites have not yet been rigorously surveyed, they might contain another 20% of the adult population. Farther afield, two satellite-tagged adults were tracked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea where they spent the 2018 moulting season4. There remain many sites in the Yellow Sea that need to be surveyed systematically. Spoon-billed Sandpipers are the needle in the haystack. There may be only 222 of them using the mudflats at Tiaozini, but they forage amongst millions of other birds that depend on the mudflats of the Yellow Sea5,6. Many of those shorebird species are also in decline – some perilously so5. Preserving habitat for a rare but charismatic species like the Spoon-billed Sandpiper saves habitat for other species as well. In this way, standing on a mudflat and searching for a metaphorical needle in a haystack may help save the haystack for all. 1. Chang, Q., G.Q.A. Anderson, K. Brides, J.A. Clark, N.A. Clark, R. Hearn, K. Leung, D.S. Melville, E. Weston, J. Weston & R.E. Green. 2019. A high proportion of the world population of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper occurs at Tiaozini, China, during the post-breeding moult. Wader Study 126(1): 35–42. 2. Clark, N.A., G.Q.A. Anderson, J. Li, E.E. Syroechkovskiy, P.S. Tomkovich, C. Zöckler, R. Lee & R.E. Green. 2018. First formal estimate of the world population of the Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper Calidris pygmaea. Oryx 52: 137–146. 3. Murray N.J., R.S. Clemens, S.R. Phinn, H.P. Possingham & R.A. Fuller. 2014. Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment 12: 267–272. 4. Green, R., N. Clark, G. Anderson, E. Weston & B. Hughes. 2018. Satellite tagging of spoon-billed sandpipers reveals the importance of intertidal habitats in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for migration and post-breeding moult. Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force News Bulletin 19: 31–33. 5. Studds, C.E., B. E. Kendall, N. J. Murray, H. B. Wilson, D. I. Rogers, R. S. Clemens, K. Gosbell, C. J. Hassell, R. Jessop, D. S. Melville, D. A. Milton, C. D.T. Minton, H. P. Possingham, A. C. Riegen, P. Straw, E. J.Woehler & R. A. Fuller. 2017. Rapid population decline in migratory shorebirds relying on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats as stopover sites. Nature Communications 8: 14895. 6. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2014. Filming Migratory Shorebirds on the Yellow Sea Accessed 17 Mar 2019 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F84v0CFN4Pw (for a short look at the Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other birds using the Yellow Sea) PDF is available for download here: https://www.waderstudygroup.org/article/12091/
Spotlight: Counting Spoon-billed Sandpipers in Tiaozini, China

Like finding a needle in a haystack. You can imagine a researcher muttering this phrase while peering through a spotting scope and trying to find a rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea amid a large flock of nearly identical shorebirds. The distinctive spoon-shaped bill is often hidden from view making the bird especially hard to find. Even after a glimpse of the iconic bill, the researcher must watch until both legs can be seen well enough to determine if the bird has a leg flag. This

Gulf grunion eggs are the most important food source for Red Knots roselaari during spring migration at Golfo de Santa Clara, of comparable ecological importance to to horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay (Hernández-Alvarez et al. 2013). The Laboratorio de Aves UABCS and Pronatura Noroeste have made a video about Red Knot and the Gulf Grunion in the Upper Gulf of California, Sonora (Mexico), that they are pleased to share with you: Rediscover the paper of Adriana Hernández-Alvarez et al. (2013) about the feeding ecology of Red Knots Calidris canutus roselaari  at Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora, Mexico published in Wader Study Group Bulletin: Hernández-Alvarez, A., Carmona, R. & Arce, N. (2013) Feeding ecology of Red Knots Calidris canutus roselaari at Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora, Mexico. Wader Study Group Bull. 120(3): 194–201.    
New video Red Knot & Gulf Grunion | Aves UABCS & Pronatura Noroste

Gulf grunion eggs are the most important food source for Red Knots roselaari during spring migration at Golfo de Santa Clara, of comparable ecological importance to to horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay (Hernández-Alvarez et al. 2013). The Laboratorio de Aves UABCS and Pronatura Noroeste have made a video about Red Knot and the Gulf Grunion in the Upper Gulf of California, Sonora (Mexico), that they are pleased to share with you: Rediscover the paper of Adriana Hernández-Alvarez et al. (2013)

"The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group is excited to announce the Call for Symposia for the upcoming meeting, to be held 24-28 October in Panama City, Panama, and hosted by the Panama Audubon Society. To submit a proposal for a Symposium, please go here <http://198.199.91.241/symposium>.  Symposium proposals are due by 15 March 2019. The Call for Abstracts for the meeting will follow soon, and Abstracts will be due by 1 May 2019. Applications for Travel Awards, and nominations for the Baker and Oring awards, will also be due on 1 May 2019.  Travel award information will be posted soon with the Call for Abstracts.  Information for the Baker and Oring Awards is at the WHSG website here! <http://westernshorebirdgroup.org/awards/> We hope you will consider proposing a symposium, or planning to submit an abstract, and we hope you will attend the meeting in October! Stephen Brown Chair, Science Committee Eveling Tavera Chair, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group
8th meeting of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meeting | 24-28 October 2019 Panama City, Panama

"The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group is excited to announce the Call for Symposia for the upcoming meeting, to be held 24-28 October in Panama City, Panama, and hosted by the Panama Audubon Society. To submit a proposal for a Symposium, please go here <http://198.199.91.241/symposium>.  Symposium proposals are due by 15 March 2019. The Call for Abstracts for the meeting will follow soon, and Abstracts will be due by 1 May 2019. Applications for Travel Awards, and nominations for the

News authored by Tamás Székely and Vojtěch Kubelka: Sex role evolution: testing the impacts of ecology, demography and genes Sex roles (i.e., courtship, competition for mates, pair bonding and parenting) are among the most diverse social behaviour. Recent research is uncovering key elements of sex role variation, but significant gaps remain. Appropriate sexual behaviour is essential for reproduction, and thus understanding the causes and implications of sex roles are at the core of evolutionary biology and fundamental for the study of life history evolution, physiology and population biology. Understanding sex roles is also important for biodiversity conservation since disruptions to normal sexual behaviour due to environmental changes reduce the viability of wild populations. Our team has been recently awarded an ÉLVONAL project of Hungarian Science Foundation to investigate sex role evolution in shorebirds (plovers, sandpipers and allies). The project is based at University of Debrecen (Hungary), and is carried out between 2018 and 2022. Shorebirds exhibit an unusual diversity of sex role variation, and they have provided some of the textbook examples of mating behaviour, parenting and breeding systems. Provisional results suggest that some of this variation is related to adult sex ratios, i.e. the ratios of adult males to adult females in the local population. To achieve the objectives of this ambitious project, we are seeking collaborators willing to study behaviour, ecology and/or demography of any breeding shorebird population on the planet. To progress, we have developed a data collection protocol that explains field methodology to gather the information we are seeing in this project. We hope the ÉLVONAL project will lead to joint research publications, and in addition, to exchange of ideas, discussions and follow-up research. We also anticipate that our project will have a significant training and capacity building components and will impact on biodiversity conservation for the benefits of shorebirds and people worldwide. [caption id="attachment_11954" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Male of Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) in full breeding plumage ready for mating at a breeding ground in United Arabic Emirates. ©Vojtěch Kubelka.[/caption]   Featured image: Five shorebird species at a beach in Florida, do you recognize them all? Photo: Vojtěch Kubelka.
Call for collaboration | ÉLVONAL Shorebird Science

News authored by Tamás Székely and Vojtěch Kubelka: Sex role evolution: testing the impacts of ecology, demography and genes Sex roles (i.e., courtship, competition for mates, pair bonding and parenting) are among the most diverse social behaviour. Recent research is uncovering key elements of sex role variation, but significant gaps remain. Appropriate sexual behaviour is essential for reproduction, and thus understanding the causes and implications of sex roles are at the core of