Request for collaboration: chick growth rates & climatic conditions

On behalf of Thomas Lameris & Jeroen Reneerkens


Dear fellow shorebird researchers,

We would like to ask for your assistance in a project, where we aim to analyse how chick growth rates of shorebird species worldwide are impacted by changing climatic conditions.

Project background and aim

Unusual freezing conditions around the globe during this past winter, followed by record-high temperatures in large parts of the Arctic this spring, again form an example that the globe’s climate will be more and more governed by extremes. Vulnerability of shorebirds populations to this changing climate has been predicted from modelling efforts, as well as shown by changes in reproductive success and body size for individual populations. It is likely that birds are especially vulnerable to effects of a warming climate and climatic extremes in early life, during the period of chick growth. We would like to initiate a project to compare chick growth rates in all shorebird species, where we want to make comparisons between species, populations / study sites and years, to study how variation in growth rate is possibly explained by climatic variation. For example, we expect that chick growth rate will be lower when chicks face temperatures below or above their thermoneutral zone, or during extreme climatic conditions such as prolonged periods of rainfall. We hope that this project can give us insights into the vulnerability of shorebirds to a warming climate, and whether species and populations may differ in their vulnerability.

Request for data

We are looking for data on biometrics (body mass, tarsus length, wing length, etc.) measured for shorebird chicks of any shorebird species. While data collected for chicks with known hatch dates is especially helpful, we consider any data to be useful for this project. We are interested in data from all shorebird species, and from as many study sites, populations and years as possible. This means that any data are valuable, also older data and data collected at atypical sites.

We want to use these data specifically to answer the research question outlined above, which is expected to result in one, multi-authored publication, to which collaborators sharing data are invited as co-authors.

We consider that data on food availability for chicks (e.g. data on arthropod abundance) is an important explanatory variable when studying chick growth. While we first want to focus on a large-scale comparison in relation to climatic variables only, we consider that a second step would be a comparison with data on food availability. If you have such data available for your population, please let us know and we will get in touch with you on this.

Also, if you happen to know the existence of (unpublished) data by others, please forward this message and/or let us know.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

Best wishes,

Thomas Lameris ( & Jeroen Reneerkens (