Symposia Descriptions

Symposia Library
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 *click on the symposia descriptions for additional information 

A


Advances in Biosecurity to reverse invasive alien species impacts on islands

Co-Conveners

David Bradley
Bird Studies Canada
Canada
James Russell
University of Auckland
New Zealand

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Steve Cranwell: "Conservation Science Lessons and Next Steps from the Epicenter of the Invasives Extinction Issue"
Gregg Howald: "The End Goal is in Sight: Moving Toward Whole Island Restoration"

ABSTRACT
Invasive alien species (IAS) the single largest driver of bird extinctions worldwide since 1500, and that extinction rate is increasing (BirdLife International 2013). Seabirds are disproportionately impacted by IAS more than any other group of birds (Croxall et al. 2012, IUCN 2015), and the threat of incursion by invasive species to their breeding habitat on offshore islands is growing as human population expansion and development increases globally. Although this threat also interacts with other threats to birds, such as habitat modification and climate change, there is a great deal of compelling evidence that invasive mammal eradications can facilitate restoration of seabird populations and remains a global priority for conservation of seabirds. Therefore there is an urgent need to establish global priorities and a comprehensive strategy to address the threat of IAS on islands. This symposium will address the fundamental impact IAS have on native bird populations and the effectiveness of control and eradication measures. Drawing on examples from seabird colony management we discuss mammal eradication techniques, collate the latest information, and discuss models for successful IAS eradications from islands. Together these talks will address recent advances in avian conservation for vulnerable island birds.

Austral Ornithology: Developments and Opportunities at the Southern Hemisphere

Co-Conveners

Dr. Juan F. Masello
Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Jestus Liebig University Giessen
Germany
Prof. Dr. John Wingfield
Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Prof. Dr. Jörn Theuerkauf: "Coevolutionary Arms Race, Cooperative Breeding and other Unique Adaptations of Birds in New Caledonia"
Prof. Dr. Rodrigo A. Vasquez: "Reproductive Biology and Responses to Environmental Stress at High Latitudes in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere"

ABSTRACT
Remarkable differences exist in the geography and geology of the northern and southern hemispheres and this plays an important role in determining the patterns of avian movement, behaviour and ecology in these parts of the world. The relative isolation of the Southern Hemisphere land masses set the evolutionary paths to noteworthy traits, such as flightless-ness, as well as a rich spectrum of behaviours, foraging strategies, breeding systems, and phenological patterns. This symposium will address the unique qualities of the foraging strategies, breeding systems, and phenological patterns of Southern Hemisphere birds. Specifically, we will address why many evolutionary and ecological conclusions cannot simply be translated from the northern to the Southern Hemisphere. We will highlight cases in which Southern Hemisphere birds offer alternative models for the investigation of fundamental ecological questions and identify gaps in our knowledge of Southern Hemisphere birds. Together these discussions will demonstrate why an Austral perspective can contribute fundamentally to our greater understanding of avian evolution and the urgent requirements for conservation. This symposium will also demonstrate the most fruitful lines of future research.

Avian Anatomy: Interdisciplinary Research and Veterinary Clinical Applications

Co-Conveners

M. Scott Echols
The Grey Parrot Anatomy Project. Echols Veterinary Services
USA
Michael Taylor
Endoscopy in Avian Medicine and Research. Taylor Consulting and Imaging
Canada

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
M. Scott Echols: "The Grey Parrot Anatomy Project"
Michael Taylor: "Endoscopy in Avian Medicine and Research"

ABSTRACT
There is a scarcity of avian anatomical studies that are detailed enough to be used as background information for physiological research and veterinary clinical application. With the current advancements being made in avian disease diagnostics and treatments, there is as resurgence of interest in avian anatomy as a core science. Developments in a number of ornithological fields, such as physiology, development, paleontology, and systematics rely on an accurate understanding of anatomical form. This symposium highlights currently conducted research that is rooted in avian anatomy. Selected presentations will focus on how advances in anatomical research can provide data to support various scientific disciplines in avian biology. Advanced 3D imaging and other emerging visualization techniques will be showcased to demonstrate how anatomy has become more visual, precise, applicable, and exciting. This symposium also seeks to develop an integrative approach towards building opportunities for biologists and avian veterinarians to collaborate on projects of common interest.

Avian ecological epigenetics: dna methylation and beyond

Co-Conveners

Kees van Oers
Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
The Netherlands
Arild Husby
Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki
Finland

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Kees van Oers: "Avian Ecological Epigenetics: DNA Methylation and the Expression of Avian Personality"
Arild Husby: "The Role of DNA Methylation in Avian Timing of Reproduction"

ABSTRACT
Epigenetics describes the chemical and physical processes that program the genome to express its genes. Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation may have an environmental or a genetic basis. Ecological epigenetics is an emerging field, putting these epigenetic processes into an ecological context. Avian ecological epigenetics is exciting because it will help us to understand the heritable-yet-plastic nature of many behavioural and life-history traits. Birds have traditionally been well-studied model organisms for many ecological and evolutionary questions, and with the availability of reference genomes for several bird species, ample opportunities have opened up for studying the underlying genomics of complex traits. This symposium will provide an overview of the latest research on avian epigenetics aimed at the general ornithologist. By integrating studies on developmental plasticity, environmental impact, the genetic basis of epigenetic effects and transgenerational effects we will demonstrate how birds can be excellent models for the study of epigenetic processes. Specifically, the objectives of this symposium are i) to bring together avian scientists working in this novel field ii) demonstrate what ecological epigenetics could bring to avian biology and iii) to formulate theory and predictions on the role of epigenetics. In doing so we seek to demonstrate the importance of epigenetic processes for avian evolution and establish model avian systems for the understanding how environmental effects translate into heritable changes in gene expression.

Avian Ageing Physiology

Co-Conveners

Ulf Bauchinger
Jagiellonian University
Poland
Simon Verhulst
University of Groningen
The Netherlands

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Simon Verhulst: "The Avian Ageing Phenotype"
Ulf Bauchinger: "Ageing of Avian Metabolism"

ABSTRACT
Birds are relatively long-lived despite a relatively high metabolism. This suggests slower senescence rates of birds compared to similar sized mammals, which makes birds an interesting animal model for our general understanding of ageing physiology. In recent years, avian senescence has been extensively studied, and it is now well established that reproduction and survival decline with age in most bird species. However, the physiology underlying the decline of fitness components with age is not well known; in fact, physiological senescence of birds more generally is not well described. Longitudinal sampling facilitates the study of ageing, to avoid the biasing effect of selective disappearance on estimated ageing trajectories. In the wild, this is relatively easy to accomplish in birds, when compared to other taxa, because individual birds can often be recaptured in successive years. Moreover, selected bird species can be kept in captivity in large numbers with little effort and costs, enabling integration of laboratory and field studies. Hence there is a considerable potential for studies of avian ageing physiology to contribute to our understanding of the ageing process more generally. In this symposium we will explore recent studies of avian senescence and what these studies can teach us about the mechanisms underlying the ageing process and its evolutionary implications.

Avian Clocks and Calendars

Co-Conveners

Vinod Kumar, Ph.D
Department of Zoology, University of Delhi
India
Vincent M. Cassone, Ph.D
Department of Biology, University of Kentucky
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Vincent M. Cassone: "Photoperiodic Control of Bird Song Behavior, Structure and Genes"
Franz Bairlein: "Seasonal and Diurnal Timing in an Extreme Migratory Songbird: the Case of Northern Wheatears"

ABSTRACT
Birds, like other vertebrates adapt their physiology and behavior to the regular cycles in their geophysical environment that itself is periodic. Birds need to control the time and duration of different daily activities as well as life-history stages that make up the annual cycle; for example in scheduling the vernal migration, reproduction, molt and autumnal migration. Avian clocks have been an area of great research interest to many ornithologists since late 1960s. After, a little slow progress during late 20th century, there has been a significant advancement in research during the last decade, particularly in understanding the molecular clockwork of these clocks, and also how they possibly interact to form seasonal programs in birds. This symposium will discuss unifying views emerging from the current findings in understanding the role of biological clocks as a regulatory mechanism in birds’ life, at the genetic, physiology and behavioral levels. Studies of bird clocks have also potential to lead us to understand the effects of environmental changes including global climate change in vertebrates. Because of the ubiquity of biological clocks, and the way they interact with the environment, we expect this symposium to be of interest to behavioural ecologist, physiologists and evolutionary biologists.

Avian Ecotoxicology in the anthropocene: 50 years since silent spring

Co-Conveners

John Elliott
Environment Canada
Canada
Richard Shore
Lancaster University
United Kingdom

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
John Elliott: "Old and New Contaminant Threats to Bird Populations"
Richard Shore: "Exposure and Impact of Anticoagulant Rodenticides on Bird Populations"

ABSTRACT
Birds clearly played a major role in Rachel Carson’s pivotal work on the threats of chemical contaminants to biodiversity. Despite the prevailing view that DDT and related chemicals provided unqualified benefits to humankind, Carson synthesized the emerging information on the negatives of the virtually uncontrolled usage taking place at that time. In the intervening years great strides have been made in the process of assessing the environmental risks of agricultural and industrial chemicals, and in mitigating impacts. Nonetheless, many new contaminant threats have emerged, such as the brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds and most insidiously for bird populations the devastating effects that the seemingly innocuous pharmaceutical, diclofenac, has had on Asian vulture problems. The purpose of this proposed symposium is to bring together active researchers in the field of wildlife ecotoxicology to present findings and provide updates on a range of ongoing contaminant hazards to bird populations, including: anticoagulant rodenticides, neonicotinoid insecticides, mercury, pharmaceuticals and new industrial and commercial chemicals. New research is underway in a number of countries on the subtle effects of old and new chemicals on survival, reproduction, development, migration and many other essential functions. Together, the symposium presentations will summarise the state of the field of avian ecotoxicology and associated regulatory and conservation initiatives.

Avian Energetics in a changing world: Keeping alight the brightest 'fires of life'

Co-Conveners

Kyle Elliott
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University
Canada
Jerome Fort
Littoral, Environment and Societies, CNRS-University of La Rochelle
France
David Grémillet
CNRS, Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
France

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Andrew McKechnie: "Variation in Avian Metabolic Responses to High Environmental Temperatures: Implications for Modelling Upper Thermal Tolerance Limits"
Rory Wilson: "A Blueprint for the Costs and Rewards of Behavioral Poker: Foraging Strategies of Penguins in their Probabilistic Underwater World"

ABSTRACT
High metabolic rates allow birds to be masters of the air, and flight underpins the evolution, physiology and anatomy of all birds, even flightless ones. At the same time, high metabolic rates require high food intake and enhanced heat dissipation, placing constraints on where birds can live. The high metabolism of birds plays a key role in their ecology, evolution and behaviour and interests many researchers across several fields. Avian energetics has played an important role in the development of ecophysiology over the past 50 years, giving us ideas such as ‘the power curve’, ‘the prudent parent’ and ‘the energy ceiling,’ that have resonated well beyond ornithology. Early work focused on basal metabolism in the lab and even flight metabolism in wind tunnels, but in recent years radical changes in techniques have contributed to advancing the field. Avian energetics in the 21st century is moving out of the realm of basic science and into the realm of application. Our symposium will provide a timely investigation of several such applications from reserve design to climate change and management of prey (fish) stocks. By integrating energetics with policy decision-making we will demonstrate the fundamental impact ecophysiology can have for answering applied questions.

Avian Cognition

Co-Conveners

Susan Healy
Harold Mitchell Building, University of St. Andrews
United Kingdom
Carel ten Cate
Professor of Animal Behaviour, Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Instituut Biologie Leiden, IBL Animal Science & Health
The Netherlands

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Candy Rowe: "What (not) to Eat: How Birds Acquire and use Information in Dietary Decisions"
Andrea Griffin: "The Innovative Bird: Advances and Pitfalls in the Study of Animal Problem Solving"

ABSTRACT
The growth of interest in avian cognition is considerable: birds are both biologically and logistically a key taxonomic group for investigation into the range of capabilities and the evolution of those abilities. The aim of the symposium will be to present the most recent and exciting research in avian cognition, some of which we consider likely to be led by our two keynote speakers. The growth in interest in avian cognition in recent years has seen the range of species under investigation and the context for examining their cognitive abilities expand far beyond the traditional pigeon in the Skinner box. By integrating studies of cognition in the lab with work done on species in ecologically relevant settings we can ask fundamental questions about the selective pressures that give rise to advanced cognitive skills. By comparing across species we can use comparative studies to investigate trade-offs in cognitive abilities. Together, these talks will demonstrate the importance of understanding avian cognitive skills for understanding the evolution of birds in their natural environments.

B


Birds in the Web of Life: Ecology and Conservation of Nest Webs Worldwide

Co-Conveners

Kristina L. Cockle
IBIGEO-CONICET
Argentina
Josè Tomás Ibarra
Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia
Canada

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Jeffrey R. Walters: "Drivers of Variation in Species Interactions Among and within Nest Webs"
Kristina L. Cockle: "How do Species' Abundance, Spatial Distribution, and Trait-Matching Influence the Structure of Nest Webs in the Americas?"

ABSTRACT
Avian communities are comprised of species that interact locally, producing complex networks whose dynamics cannot always be understood or predicted from information at the population level. Globally, more than 1500 species of birds interact around the resource of tree cavities, which they require for nesting or roosting. These cavity-nesting communities are structured in nest webs – interspecific interaction networks that link secondary cavity-nesting species (non-excavators including birds, mammals, and social insects) to the species that provide (trees) or facilitate cavities (woodpeckers and other avian excavators and organisms that promote wood decay). Because the supply of cavities can be limited, and can change dramatically over time and space, nest web structure may determine how cavity-nesting communities respond to perturbation. This symposium will showcase recent progress in the study of cavity-nesting communities as interaction networks, explore how nest webs change across space and time, and propose research and management to improve conservation outcomes for these communities.

Bird-Pathogen Interactions: Selection, Adaptation and Epidemiology

Co-Conveners

Barbara Tschirren
University of Exeter
United Kington
Helena Westerdahl
Lund University
Sweden

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Jonas Waldenstrom: "Disease Ecology in Birds - from Theory to Practice"
Dana Hawley: "Inflammation as a Mediator of Tolerance in a Songbird-Pathogen System"

ABSTRACT
Parasites and infectious diseases can pose serious threats to vulnerable bird species and populations. In addition, birds often serve as reservoirs for human zoonotic diseases. A better understanding of the impact of pathogens on bird populations, and the resistance and tolerance mechanisms which birds have evolved in response to infection, is thus of relevance to a wide range of research fields, including evolutionary biology, conservation biology and public health. In this symposium we aim to integrate studies of birds-pathogen interactions at different levels. We will assess the consequences of emerging and established pathogens for individual birds, bird populations, and public health. Furthermore, we will explore behavioral, physiological and immunological adaptations to pathogens at the phenotypic level, and examine patterns of pathogen-mediated selection at the molecular level. In so doing, our symposium will link different disciplines, from conservation biology to parasitology, behavioural ecology and genomics, and provide insights into the forefront of bird-pathogen research worldwide.

Birds versus Mammals: Functional Morphology and Evolution

Co-Conveners

Andrei V. Zinoviev
Professor, Head of the Biology Department, Faculty of Biology
Russia
Dominique G. Homberger
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Andrei V. Zinoviev: "Bipedal Hopping in Birds and Rodents: Evolutionary and Morphological Aspects"
Ron A. Meyers: "Comparative Anatomy of the Postural Mechanisms of the Forelimbs of Birds and Mammals"

ABSTRACT
Functional morphology of birds has experienced an exciting revitalization through advances in several areas (for example, discovery of a large number of fossil birds, new techniques of 3D imaging and animation based on x-ray CT scans, novel soft-tissue reconstruction methods of extinct species). Since morphology has become a tool for trying to understand the influence of environmental factors on the development and expression of structures and their functions, it is extremely interesting to compare two classes of vertebrates – birds and mammals. Comparisons of particular organ systems of these two phylogenetically distant groups allow for a better understanding of evolutionary trends and transformations in the morphology of terrestrial vertebrates. The symposium aims at introducing the audience to advances in studies of functional morphology and evolution of birds in comparison to mammals, as well as to the current state of macroevolutionary theory.

C


Causes and Consequences of Partial Migration

Co-Conveners

Arne Hegemann
Department of Biology, Lund University
Sweden
Adam Fudickar
Department of Biology, Indiana University
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Jan-Åke Nilsson: "The Ecology and Evolution of Partial Migration"
Jesko Partecke:
"Control of Migration: Testing Textbook Knowledge in the Wild"

ABSTRACT
Partial migration, where within a single population both migratory and resident individuals coexist, has been suggested to be an early evolutionary form of full migration. Partial migration exists in a wide array of bird species (and many other taxa) and birds have served as a text-book example for partial migration. Studying species that exhibit partial migration offers the unique opportunity to investigate the causes and consequences of migration. Hence, such studies have the potential to provide insight into both the evolutionary origins and the mechanisms of migration. In this symposium we will synthesize the current knowledge on partial migration and stimulate research on this fascinating topic. This will include talks on causes and/or consequences, aspects of fitness, physiological mechanisms and environmental drivers of partial migration. The increased knowledge gained from studies on partial migration is important for our basic understanding of the evolution of migration but also for informing policy decisions directed at preserving migratory and resident populations. Both are particularly important given the rapid global change and the fast changes in migratory behaviour and species distributions observed over the past decades.

Colors of feathers: new developments in mechanics, physics and adaptive functions

Co-Conveners

Dr. Sang-im Lee
Daegu-Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), School of Undergraduate Studies
South Korea
Dr. Piotr G. Jablonski
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Poland

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Matthew Shawkey: "Mechanisms and Evolution of Plumage Color"
Dr. Ismael Galván: "Melanin-based Coloration as an Evolutionary Constraint in Birds"

ABSTRACT
Plumage coloration in birds has long been the research focus of integrative biologists, ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Indeed, plumage color can be viewed as a model system for the study of inter- and intra-specific signaling, communication, sexual selection, social selection, eco-physiology as well as in terms of the physical mechanisms of colour production. In this symposium we will address new discoveries, directions, and views that connect the study of mechanisms responsible for colors in feathers with the color’s adaptive functions. In addition we will address the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for feather evolution, as well as for their production and maintenance. Recent technical advances, as well as ornithological interest have increased the pace of research in this field. Developing from the traditional focus on carotenoid-based colors, new studies that focus on structural and melanin-based colors are developing rapidly. In this symposium the presentations will address new discoveries in the area of mechanics of colors and how they may affect our thinking about evolution and adaptive functions of color feathers. Together, these presentations will provide an integrated overview of our understanding of the evolution of feather coloration mechanisms and their functional significance.

CONSERVATION OF AFRICAN-EURASIAN MIGRATORY LANDBIRDS

Co-Conveners

Olivier Biber
Chair of AEML Working Group
Switzerland
Pavel Ktitorov
Senior Research Fellow, Ornithology Lab
Russia

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Kate Hand: "Land Use Change and Migratory Landbirds in West Africa"
Johannes Kamp: "Population Trends of Land Birds Moving in the Asian flyways"

ABSTRACT
Migratory landbird species constitute an important part of the global biological diversity. Many populations of migratory landbird species that migrate over long distances between and within Europe, Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable because they cross the territory of different countries, and make these annual and cyclic movements on a broad front – having a widely dispersed distribution across habitats. There is increasing concern regarding the considerable number of African-Eurasian migratory landbird species, especially those that spend the non-breeding season south of the Sahara and in temperate and tropical parts of East Asia. Many of them have declining population trends at a national, regional and/or global level. This symposium will discuss the Convention on Migratory Species “African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan” (AEMLAP), which aims to improve the conservation status of migratory landbird species in the African-Eurasian flyways through the international coordination of action for migratory species. The urgent need of a standardized land bird monitoring in Asia has been discussed for more than two decades. The symposium will cover the contribution of the East Asian land bird monitoring schemes, initiated by the discussions of the bilateral agreements on migratory bird conservation between Russia, China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Together, these talks will highlight the recent developments in coordinated conservation efforts for migratory birds across vast geographical areas.

CONSERVATION RELIANT SEABIRDS IN THE PACIFIC BASIN

Co-Conveners

Simba Chan
BirdLife International Asia Division
Japan
Mark J. Rauzon
Laney College
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Hwajung Kim: "Study on the Threats to the Biggest Breeding Population of the Crested Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume in the Republic of Korea"
Takashi Fujii: "Migration Study on the Little Tern Sterna albifrons in Eastern Asia"

ABSTRACT
Seabird studies have been well developed in North America, Europe and Australia, but Asia has experienced a major lag. As the field of island restoration and endangered species management matures, it become increasing clear that Asian species with precipitously low populations and managed island ecosystems require the application of restoration techniques to reverse population losses and stabilize gains. Poorly-known species that are in decline but occur in remote areas and/or are intrinsically difficult to study require extensive conservation research to understand the cause(s) of decline and identify possible remedies. These types of situations where the persistence of seabird species or island sub-populations is critically dependent on ongoing active conservation activities, i.e. species are “Conservation Reliant”. In fact, with the oceanic changes forecast, many seabird species world-wide may be conservation reliant in the future. This symposium will highlight examples of currently managed species that demonstrate this principal. Sharing a broad perspective presentations of several of these case studies is our intention in hosting this timely symposium.

Cooperative Automated Radio Telemetry Systems in Avian Research

Co-Conveners

Professor Cao Lei
Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
China
Stuart A. Mackenzie
Migration Programs Manager, Bird Studies Canada
Canada

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Philip D. Taylor: "Cooperative Automated Radio Telemetry Systems in Avian Research"
Dr, Lei Cao: "Waterbird Migration and Biodiversity Conservation in East Asia"

ABSTRACT
Telemetry has played a fundamental role in avian research and conservation for over 50 years. Recent advances in automation, miniaturization, communication through satellites and mobile phone networks and coordination of monitoring effort, have revolutionized the field. It is now possible to simultaneously track larger numbers of individuals at broader scales than previously possible. We highlight the recent insights provided by advances in automated radio-telemetry research and application of gps/accelerometry/gsm loggers to the ecology, behavior, and physiology of migratory species and their use of and movements through habitats and landscapes. This symposium will gather a diversity of researchers who are using state of the art automated radio-telemetry techniques as well as telemetry loggers linking avian research to conservation with a focus on future collaborative developments and integration with other complimentary methods. Topics will include studies of behaviour, migratory connectivity, habitat use, physiology, or conservation, conducted at multiple spatial scales (local, regional and continental), across life cycle stages and continents. The symposium will especially spotlight how these approaches are revolutionising our understanding of the migration ecology of small birds in North America and Europe, and enhancing our relatively poor knowledge of birds utilizing flyways in continental East Asia.

D


Developmental Programming: Physiological Mechanisms and adaptive significance

Co-Conveners

Dr. Ondi Crino
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University
Australia
Dr. Mylene Mariette
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University
Australia

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Haruka Wada: "Potential Mechanisms Behind Plasticity Induced by Developmental Stressors: Beyond Glucocorticoids"
Pat Monaghan: "Parental Strategies for Developmental Programming: A Role for Prenatal Communication?"

ABSTRACT
The aim of this symposium is to provide a multi-disciplinary synthesis of the adaptive significance of developmental programming in birds. Drawing from the latest theoretical and empirical developments, the symposium will highlight both the beneficial and deleterious effects of developmental environments on life history traits, the physiological mechanisms underlying these short- and long-term changes, as well as the behavioural strategies used by parents to program their offspring´s developmental trajectories. Exposure to stress during development can have sustained effects on morphology, physiology, and behaviour across life history stages and, thus, plays a major role in developmental programming. Recent studies have focused on the mechanisms that modulate stress-induced phenotypic effects (e.g., epigenetic effects) and the evolutionary context of developmental programming. Ornithological research is at the cutting edge of this research field, providing a wide range of novel empirical data. The field of developmental programming is now at a turning point where this wealth of knowledge needs to be integrated into an evolutionary framework where mechanisms and constraints are critically assessed in an ecologically relevant context. This symposium will therefore address the physiological mechanisms and adaptive significance of early developmental programming.

E


Evolution of Birds and dinosaurs: Structure, Anatomy and Behavior

Co-Conveners

Theagarten-Lingham-Soliar
Professor, Environmental Sciences, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
South Africa
John Ruben
Professor, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Zhonghe Zhou: "Evolution of Feeding and the Digestive Behaviour of Early Birds"
John Ruben: "The Metabolic Satus of Theropod Dinosaurs and Early Birds"

ABSTRACT
We are in a golden age of research on dinosaurs and early birds. It has been fuelled by wonderful fossil finds around the world among which are the spectacular discoveries from the Jehol biota in Liaoning Province, China. Concomitant with these finds have been searching questions involving the origin of birds, the origin of the feather (the most dynamic structure in nature),?endothermy (warm-bloodedness) in dinosaurs and early birds and perhaps, the most fundamental question of all, their feeding habits and early diversification into numerous ecological niches. Different food resources would necessitate major biological adaptations to convert food to energy. Nature hides its secrets well because biological systems are multifunctional. Hence to find answers to difficult questions obscured by millions of years and frequently enmeshed in controversy palaeontologists have had to employ cunning techniques and cutting edge technology. The discoveries therefore have gripped the public imagination and have frequently graced the pages and films of National Geographic and made international news headlines e.g. the announcement of protofeathers (primal feathers)) in dinosaurs on the front page of The New York Times. The symposium has been designed to bring to a non-specialist audience at the IOCongress these intriguing findings and to encourage discussions among delegates from around the world from amateur and professional alike.

Exotic and Urban Psittacines: Impacts and opportunities

Co-Conveners

Maria de Lourdes Gonzalez Azuaje
Departmento de Estudios Ambientales, Universidad Simon Bolivar
Venezuela
Donald Brightsmith
Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College Station
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Emiliano Mori: "Alien Parrots Crowding Cities: Impacts of Introduced Birds in Europe and North America"
Donald Brightsmith: "Conservation Opportunities Presented by Exotic and Urban Psittacines"

ABSTRACT
Psittaciformes is one of the most threatened bird orders in the world with the leading threats being habitat loss and the pet trade. However, escapes and releases of pet trade birds have resulted in thousands of exotic parrot populations living in urban areas throughout the world. As a result, many native parrot populations are declining, while many urban parrot populations are increasing. Scientific studies suggest the potential negative impacts of these urban populations are great, through the generation of competition for food and nesting cavities, disease, and economic losses. However, large-scale ecological damage is rarely documented definitively and control projects are often opposed by local people, who wish to keep these exotic birds in their communities. Policy makers from global to local levels are increasingly being confronted by complex questions of control versus protection of these populations and as scientists we should provide information to guide effective policy decisions. In the symposium we will address the complex interplay of community engagement and avian conservation such parrot populations produce.

Evolutionary Ecology of Bird-Parasite Interactions

Co-Conveners

Erik Matthysen
University of Antwerp
Belgium
Dale Clayton
University of Utah
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Erik Matthysen: "Evolution of Bird Parasite life-histories: The Importance of On-host and Off-host Habitat"
Dale Clayton: "Avian Defences Against Ectoparasites"

ABSTRACT
Host-parasite interactions are generally recognized as highly important drivers of ecological and evolutionary processes. Many parasites are also relevant as vectors of pathogens for wildlife or humans, and introduced or invasive parasites may pose important threats to endangered species. Nevertheless, the evolutionary ecology of bird-parasite interactions remains largely understudied, and a lot of our present knowledge is still based on a small number of thoroughly investigated model systems. Ectoparasites are great models for studies of bird-parasite interactions, as they can be relatively easily assessed and manipulated. In addition, ectoparasites are important vectors and intermediate hosts of other bird parasites, including pathogens. In this symposium we will give an overview of recent progress in understanding ecological and evolutionary mechanisms driving anti-parasite adaptations of birds, and counteradaptations of parasites. In particular, we emphasize the variation in life-history strategies within and among groups of ectoparasites and their implications for parasite fitness, host fitness, and the evolution of host defenses. These presentations will include the emerging discussion on conservation problems created by specialized parasites of threatened species. Together these presentations will highlight the remarkable coevolution of parasites and the avian hosts.

F


Fear in Birds: The consequences of non-consumptive predatory-prey interactions

Co-Conveners

Blake C. Jones
USA
Liana Y. Zanette
Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario
Canada

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Liana Y. Zanette: "Fear Effects on Wildlife Populations Revealed because of Birds"
Daniel T. Blumstein: "What Chasing Birds can Teach us about Predation Risk Effects: Past Insights and Further Directions"

ABSTRACT
Traditionally, biologists have focused on the consumptive effects predators can have upon prey. Recently, however, ecologists have identified the non-consumptive effects that predators have on free-living animals - the “ecology of fear” - as a major driver of predator-prey interactions. Though predators and predator cues have been commonly used to study “fear” in laboratory rodents, ornithologists have been at the forefront of recent empirical work demonstrating that exposure to predator stimuli alone can have profound consequences on free-living animals, apparent at the level of both the individual and population. This symposium will highlight the central role of ornithology in driving the paradigm shift of how ecologists conceptualize the immediate and long-lasting consequences of predator-prey interactions. Speakers will present and discuss recent findings that the fear of being killed by a predator can induce behavioral and physiological antipredator responses in prey that can affect the reproduction and survival of individuals, alter population dynamics, and ultimately drive evolutionary change. This symposium will also present a roadmap for future research directions and will discuss the importance of the ecology of fear in the context of anthropogenic disturbances and conservation of wildlife in general.

H


Human-raptor interactions: from Conservation priorities to conflict mitigation

Co-Conveners

Petra Sumasgutner
FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town
South Africa
Julien Terraube
University of Helsinki
Finland

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Julien Terraube: "Raptors and Global Change: Linking Individual Behavior to Population Level Response"
Prof Steve Redpath: "Managing Conflicts that Threaten Raptor Conservation"

ABSTRACT
Raptor populations throughout the world are being affected by anthropogenic drivers. Raptors are known to be susceptible to changes in land use and climate, as well as to direct persecution and environmental pollution. These factors are unlikely to operate independently, as for example climate change is likely to exacerbate the effects of rapid habitat change on population dynamics. Raptors vary in their responses; some are particularly vulnerable due in part to their slower life histories, while other species have shown high plasticity and positive population trends in response to factors such as increased urbanization. Simultaneously, raptors may have a range of impacts on humans, from essential ecosystem services like the control of rodent pest species to problematic aspects such as predation on species of economic and conservation concern or interference with the development of transport and energy infrastructures. Finding sustainable solutions to these problems involves a combination of strong ecology combined with partnerships with policy makers and stakeholders. This symposium aims to provide a platform to highlight recent findings on this diversity of raptor-human interactions and on alternative approaches to mitigate conflicts and promote coexistence in order to maintain viable raptors populations in a changing world.

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Impact of Climate Change and land-use change on alpine birds: from coarse-grained distribution models to fine-grained ecologically meaningful predictions

Co-Conveners

Kathy Martin
Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia
Canada
Veronika Braunisch
Conservation Biology, Institute of Ecology & Evolution, University of Bern
Switzerland

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Kathy Martin: "The Conservation Value of Mountain Habitats for Avian Biodiversity in North America"
Raphael Arlettaz: "The Future of Alpine Avifauna Facing Environmental Change: From Coarse-Grained Climate-Envelope Models to Fine-Grained Functional Projections"

ABSTRACT
For a range of reasons, alpine areas are predicted to be impacted disproportionately by the effects of climate change. In addition, changes in land use in alpine areas have impacts on alpine bird communities. This symposium will elucidate the interacting effects of climate and land use change on alpine bird species and communities. Bringing together researchers working on alpine bird communities around the world, this symposium will present studies that integrate ecologically relevant, detailed data concerning species requirements and bring this into broad-scale predictive distribution models. Using this approach we seek to summarise current understanding of the predictions of range shifts in relation to climate change. Data on the number of bird species using mountains or the strength of their dependence on alpine habitats are still lacking for most continents, and as a result the biodiversity value of alpine ecosystems for birds is likely underestimated globally. The overarching objective of this symposium is to offer a reflection platform on state-of-the-art and innovative approaches for better orienting bird and biodiversity conservation management in alpine environments.

Implications of Adult sex ratio variation in birds: breeding systems, demography and biodiversity conservation

Co-Conveners

Jan Komdeur
Groningen University
The Netherlands
Andras Liker
University of Pannonia
Hungary

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Tamás Székely: "The Implications of Adult Sex Ratio Variation for Breeding System Evolution"
Paul Donald: "The Importance of Adult Sex Ratios to Conservation"

ABSTRACT
Sex ratio theory has a central role in evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation, and recent works suggest that adult sex ratio (ASR) may have a more significant impact on populations than previously assumed. This symposium will highlight the importance of studying ASR in avian populations. We will argue that the neglect of ASR may be a major oversight: adult sex ratios differ immensely within and between animal taxa including birds, and these differences have important implications for the evolution of sex roles, i.e. for understanding sex differences in mate acquisition, pair bonding and parental care. Furthermore, ASR can also influence basic demographic parameters such as reproductive success, thus the study of ASR is also relevant for the fields of population biology and conservation. To provide a general picture on these topics, the symposium will review the extent of ASR variation in birds, and the likely factors generating this variation. We will discuss the major types of avian reproductive sex roles, and current advances in our understanding of how variation in reproductive sex roles is related to ASR. We will also show how ASR is linked to population processes in birds and its significance from the perspective of species conservation. Finally, since estimation of ASR is not without pitfalls, key methodological issues will also be discussed during the symposium.

Integrative Approaches to Avian Evolution in Australia and the Indo-West Pacific

Co-Conveners

Leo Joseph
Australia National Wildlife Collection
Australia
Michael J. Andersen
Department of Biology and Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Leo Joseph: "Evolution of Birds in Sahul with Special Reference to the New Guinea-Australian Savanna and Wetland Connections"
Michael J. Andersen: "Evolution at the Periphery: The Role of Islands in Generating Avian Diversity in Australia and the Indo-West Pacific?"

ABSTRACT
Australia and the Indo-West Pacific is emerging as a major theatre for the study of evolution in the age of genomics. From ancient continents to island archipelagos, the region’s geography is an excellent natural laboratory to test speciation theory and explore the signature of earth history on historical biogeography. Furthermore, the birds of this region have played a prominent role as focal taxa in development of such theories as divergence in allopatry, island biogeography, and more recently natural selection at the genomic level. As genomics tools become commonplace, we now have the opportunity to test long-standing theories of speciation and biogeography in a far more robust manner and to use the region as a natural laboratory for exploring the power of genomic tools. Critically, research on the region’s birds is developing entirely new model systems for the study of evolution whether at the species or of entire families. The symposium will examine the role that studies of birds are playing in Australia and the Indo-West Pacific region to advance knowledge of one of the most trenchant yet fundamental issues in evolutionary biology: how species diverge and evolve. Specifically, the symposium will integrate phenotype and genotype, utilizing genomic techniques to explore the interface between organism, environment and genome. Examples of potential topics include linking habitat diversity to levels of diversity in different genetic marker systems, or rates of speciation and islands of divergence in autosomes and sex chromosomes to reproductive biology.

iNTEGRATING HUMAN CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES IN BIRD CONSERVATION: THE ROLE OF ETHNO-ORNITHOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND PRACTICE

Co-Conveners

Dr. Andrew Gosler
University Research Lecturer, University of Oxford
United Kingdom
Dr. Felice Wyndham
Research Associate, International Society of Ethno-Biology
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Karen Park: "Patterns of Cultural and Biological Diversity: Mapping the evidence for Congruence at Ethno-Ornithology at Scale, Lessons for Setting Priorities for Linguistics"
Dr. John H Fanshawe: "Ethno-Ornithology and Conservation: Exploring the Context for Effective Community Dialogue and Long-Term Impact at Key Biodiversity Areas"

ABSTRACT
Ethno-ornithology is the study of people’s cultural relationships with birds. The incorporation of ethno-ornithology in bird conservation represents a sea-change, demonstrating the engagement of ornithology with diverse aspects of human activity from moral story-telling to international politics and peace-building. Inherently interdisciplinary, ethno-ornithology demonstrates collaboration across the humanities and sciences, scholarship and practice. It brings together a range of academics and practitioners, including zoologists, anthropologists, linguists, and conservationists, working to explore approaches to in situ conservation which are firmly embedded in the realities of local natural history knowledge and context. This symposium will demonstrate the significance of ethno-ornithology to bird conservation, and especially the role of the recently created Ethno-ornithology World Archive (EWA). For this symposium we will bring together a selection of speakers, including voices from the Canadian First Nations communities, representing the diversity of collaborators, showcasing the intrinsic multidisciplinary nature and broad intersections of practice fundamental to ethno-ornithology, whilst also demonstrating the potential of EWA for bird conservation. Together, these talks will address how the field of ethno-ornithology can contribute to avian conservation across the globe.

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Long-Term studies: Vehicles for detection of change?

Co-Conveners

André Dhondt
Cornell University
USA
Vladimir G. Grinkov
Evolutionary Biology Department, Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russia

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Peter Arcese: "Detecting Long-Term Change in the Drivers of Population Growth and Species Distribution"
Christiaan Both: "Breeding Time Adaptation to Climate Change: Local Evolutionary Change in Areas with Strong Spring Warming"

ABSTRACT
Human-induced environmental change is accelerating and encompasses change in climate, land use and the biotic communities experienced by species. To predict the outcomes of such changes and identify reliable actions to insure the persistence of valued species, it is imperative to take advantage of the results of long-term studies, many of which provide historic data on population demography and individual fitness going back 50 years or more. However, because individual life histories are the product of interactions between environment and inherited traits, the existence of rapid environmental change seriously challenges our ability to apply historic data to scenarios in future. The objective of this symposium is to address critical questions on the temporal reliability of predictive models and response of species to novel changes in their environments. By doing so, we will provide essential guidance to empirical, evolutionary and conservation biologists on the most salient lessons of long-term studies, the ability of populations to track environmental change, and the novel ways in which long-term studies are using observational and experimental studies to address these uncertainties. Given wide-spread interest in the emerging science of the eco-evolutionary dynamics of populations, we anticipate that this symposium will draw a large and diverse audience of evolutionary and empirical ecologists, as well as applied conservation biologists and wildlife managers.

Loss of Tidal Wetlands Worldwide - Direct Anthropogenic effects and sea level rise

Co-Conveners

Dr. Bruno J. Ens
Team Leader Coastal Ecology, Sovon, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology
The Netherlands
Dr. Richard Fuller
School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland
Australia

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Richard Fuller: "Mud, Glorious Mud! Global Distribution and Conservation of Intertidal Wetlands"
Dr. Yvonne Verkuil: "The Collapse of Intertidal Wetlands in the Yellow Sea: A Crucial Habitat for Migratory Waterbirds"

ABSTRACT
This symposium will highlight the danger that many birds are facing worldwide because of rapid disappearance, fragmentation, and transformation of tidal wetlands. The symposium will focus on the distribution and conservation status of tidal wetlands, and the ecological repercussions for the birds that depend on them.

Tidal wetlands are disappearing or becoming compromised at an alarming rate from factors as diverse as reclamation for aquaculture and agriculture to pollution, invasive species and sea-level rise. Therefore, there is a vital need to establish a robust global programme of research into the conservation status of tidal wetlands, and build our understanding of the ecological ramifications of tidal wetland loss for the hundreds of bird species that depend on them around the world.

The significance of this symposium is to not only feature the disappearance and degradation of tidal wetlands, and the implications this has for birds, but also to stress that tidal wetlands form an extremely restricted and specialized ecosystem worldwide that deserves robust protection.

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Millions of Migrations

Co-Conveners

Eli S. Bridge
University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Biological Survey
USA
Nir Sapir
University of Haifa, Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
Israel

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Ran Nathan: "The Movement Ecology Paradigm in Theory and in Practice"
Robert Diehl: "The Migration Synthesis"

ABSTRACT
This symposium seeks to integrate two different research approaches in studying avian migration by reconciling research on individual migrating birds with macro-scale observations of mass migration, within a theoretically sound framework pertaining to migration phenomena. The waves of migration observed by radar networks or the output of Spatio-Temporal Exploratory Models are in effect the manifestation of millions of migrations carried out by individual birds. In addition to reconciling these two perspectives, the synthesis we hope to achieve in this symposium will advance several specific objectives, including the following: i) seeking out the fundamental drivers that shape various aspects of the phenomenon of bird migration; ii) advancing agent-based approaches to study aggregate phenomena; iii) sharing workflows for analyzing and visualizing individual tracking data; iv) advancing the movement ecology paradigm as a unifying framework for studies of animal movement; and v) facilitating the integration of bird migration data within conservation efforts directed at individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. At a time when new tracking technologies are revealing the details of individual migratory journeys and advances in remote sensing and citizen science networks are providing an unprecedented perspective on migration as an aggregate, continental-scale phenomenon, this symposium will explore ways of unifying these revolutionary yet distinct approaches to migration biology.

MIGRATION, DISPERSAL, NOMADISM, INVASION, Prospecting - HOW DOES MOVEMENT INFLUENCE IMMUNITY AND INFECTION?

Co-Conveners

Thierry Boulinier
CNRS, Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
France
Silke Bauer
Swiss Ornithological Institute
Switzerland

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Kevin Matson: "Migration, Dispersal, Nomadism, Invasion - How does Movement Influence Immunity and Infection?"
Bethany Hoye: "The Importance of Parasite Exposure for Host Immunity and Movement-Mediated Dispersal of Parasites"

ABSTRACT
There is currently an almost universal assumption that long-distance movements, particularly migrations, result in the long-distance dispersal of parasites. However, detailed understanding of the importance of movement behaviour for parasite transmission requires integrative approaches spanning several levels of biological organization. In this symposium we will compare and contrast the physiological, ecological, and evolutionary consequences of different forms of long-distance movement behaviour, with a particular focus on host immune function and its role in parasite transmission over broad spatial scales. The symposium will address three broad questions, including: 1) How does individual physiology (resource allocation, stress, reproductive investment) differ between movement behaviours, and what are the consequences for host immune function and infection risk?; 2) How do these movement behaviours influence parasite exposure history, and what are the consequences for host immune function and infection risk?; and 3) Integrating both of these dimensions, how do specific host movement behaviours (e.g. migration, prospecting, invasion, nomadism) influence host immune function in the field. Our proposed symposium therefore aims to highlight to the full spectrum of movement behaviours undertaken by birds, and present a mechanistic assessment of how each of these movement behaviours may contribute to the dynamics and spatial distribution of parasites.

MIGRATORY WATERBIRDS IN THE EAST ASIAN-AUSTRALASIAN FLYWAY: ECOLOGY AND CONSSERVATION

Co-Conveners

Dr. Zhijun Ma
School of Life Sciences, Fudan University
China
Dr. Theunis Piersma
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen & NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
The Netherlands

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Theunis Piersma: "Simultaneous Declines in Summer Survival of Three Shorebird Species Signals a Flyway at Risk"
Dr. Richard Fuller: "Why are Asia's Migratory Shorebirds Disappearing and what should we do About it?"

ABSTRACT
In this symposium, we will communicate the latest knowledge on the ecology and conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The EAAF holds the greatest diversity of migratory waterbirds worldwide. Unfortunately, many waterbird populations are showing very rapid declines. The migratory waterbirds moving within this flyway depend on chains of wetland habitats linking their breeding, stopover, and nonbreeding grounds. Loss and degradation of wetlands along the EAAF is well documented and is one of the most serious threats to waterbirds, resulting in rapid population declines in many populations and species, with some species now even facing extinction. Over the past decade, international and regional cooperation has prompted studies on migratory waterbirds within the flyway. The development of tracking methods has also advanced studies on avian movements at large scales within the EAAF. In this symposium, we will communicate the latest knowledge on the ecology and conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the EAAF. International conservational management issues lie at the heart of halting or turning these population declines around. We aim to further strengthen international cooperation on the conservation of a seriously threatened flyway, making our work the science of recovery.

Multiple Functions of the Song control system of songbirds

Co-Conveners

Manfred Gahr
Department of Behavioral Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
Germany
Dinesh Bhatt
Faculty of Life Science, Department of Zoology and Environmental Science, Gurukula Kangri University
India

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Martin Wild: "Sensorimotor Control of the Courtship Solicitation Display"
Manfred Gahr: "Neural Control of Vocal Communication"

ABSTRACT
The neural song control system of songbirds is a multi-unit circuit that controls the processes of song learning and production of learned songs. These nuclei are linked with the auditory system, which is important for feedback-related song learning. However, the song control areas plausibly play a role in controlling behaviors beyond the control of song production. Recent studies of connectivity and neurophysiology of song control neurons as well as focal lesions of such neurons suggest a role of song areas in calling-based vocal communication, mate choice and reproduction. Thus, in this symposium, we highlight the role of the song control system in behaviours others than singing. The key-note speakers will provide an overview of how the song system coordinates calling among mates living in social groups, which likely is important for reproductive success, and how the song system might control courtship solicitation displays, a pre-copulatory behaviour of birds. Together, the contributions of the presenters shall bring about a new understanding to the role of the song system, including the control of vocal communication and reproduction related behaviours.

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Navigation from Arctic to Desert: Unifying Mechanisms from extreme climates

Co-Conveners

Andrew T.D. Bennett
Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University
Australia
Susanne Åkesson
Centre for Animal Movement Research (CanMove), Lund University
Sweden

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Susanne Åkesson: "Long-Distance Navigation in the High Arctic"
Andy T.D. Bennett: "How do Waterbirds Find Unpredictable Water in Australian Deserts?"

ABSTRACT
Our understanding of the mechanisms of avian navigation has come mainly from well-studied European and North American ecosystems. These have temperate climates and seasonally predictable behaviours, involving birds moving to resource rich conditions which are fairly predictable in space and time. Desert ecosystems, by contrast, are extreme environments where resource rich conditions caused by rainfall are highly unpredictable in both time and space. Polar regions are characterised by large resource-poor areas which in summer become resource-rich. What are the mechanisms and strategies that allow birds to navigate successfully to such resource rich locations? How do birds prepare physiologically? New technologies such as miniaturized GPS and satellite enabled tags, combined with small on-board sensors are providing answers and allowing theory to be unified and advanced. This symposium will highlight the latest approaches and technological advances, and more importantly will emphasize how understanding of mechanisms of navigation has been advanced by such studies. Through comparison of the mechanisms used by birds to navigate successfully in contrasting climates and systems of study (deserts and the Arctic) we aim to elucidate gaps in knowledge and highlight advances in understanding of avian navigation.

New Frontiers in Avian Urban Research

Co-Conveners

Sue Anne Zollinger
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Communication and Social Behavior Group
Germany
Davide M. Dominoni
Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Department of Animal Ecology, Wageningen
United Kingdom

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Caroline Isaksson: "Evolutionary Adaptation or Physiological Acclimation to Urban Environments by Birds"
Clinton D. Francis: "Examining the Power of Field Experiments to Single Out Environmental Effects on Behavior, Physiology and Fitness of Urban Species"

ABSTRACT
The impact of human activity on bird life and fitness is undeniable. One of the biggest global impacts of humans on bird habitats comes from urbanization, which involves not only an extreme alteration of the landscape, but also dramatic increases in light, noise, and chemical pollution. Research on the impacts of urbanization on birds has seen an exponential increase in the last two decades, focussing essentially on (1) effects on biodiversity and community structure and (2) differences in behaviour and physiology between rural and urban populations. This symposium will spotlight current limitations in avian urban research, as well as novel directions, in order to discuss future goals for advancing our understanding of the effects of global anthropogenic change on birds. We aim to identify existing, critical gaps in urban ornithology, and to present research that is already running at the forefront of this field, with the hope of stimulating conversations about where future research should lead. We propose the development of an experimental, integrative approach that explicitly acknowledges the complexity of urban ecosystems and their pressure on birds at different levels of biological organisation. This will allow assessment of proximate and ultimate mechanisms underlying the effects of urbanization on birds.

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Ornamentation in female birds

Co-Conveners

Michelle L Hall
School of BioSciences
Australia
Kristal Cain
School of Biological Sciences
New Zealand

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Ken Kraaijeveld: "Gene Regulation and the Adaptive Value of Female Ornaments"
Jordan Price: "New Perspectives on the Evolution of Song and Color Dimorphisms"

ABSTRACT
Birds of both sexes often have striking colorful plumage and complex song, but the majority of research has focused on the convention of drab, quiet females and colorful, male songsters. This conventional contrast has been attributed primarily to sexual selection acting on males to increase ornamentation, but song and colorful plumage are widespread among female birds. In recent years, biologists have begun to pay empirical attention to this phenomenon. Indeed, there has been a recent surge of interest in ornamentation in female birds suggesting that selection may operate more strongly on females than males in driving the evolution of song and colorful plumage. Recent studies suggest that in most cases these female traits have important functions in reproductive contexts, and have provided compelling insights into the selective forces that shape female fitness. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that where females are less ornamented than males, this may be a result of selection acting more strongly on females than on males, a stark contrast to the long held belief that males are under stronger selection. This symposium will explore whether inter- and intra-sexual selection have similar or contrasting effects on the elaboration of song and plumage in male and female birds, as well as factors driving the reduction of ornamental traits in female birds.

Oxidative stress and life history in birds: moving beyond the simplistic trade-off model

Co-Conveners

Andrea Bonisoli Alquati
California State Polytechnic University
USA
David Costantini
Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research
Germany

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Michaël Beaulieu: "Pay Attention to Details, they might Mask the Truth"
Scott McWilliams & Megan Skrip: "How Birds During migration Contend with Oxidative Stress"

ABSTRACT
Oxidative damage is increasingly recognized as the physiological currency underlying life history trade-offs. Studies of birds have been instrumental in demonstrating the nexus between physiology and life history. Yet, support for the idea that oxidative damage mediates the so-called cost of reproduction, underlies the expression of honest sexual signals and predicts survival prospects is currently somewhat mixed. This symposium will outline under what circumstances birds sacrifice their oxidative status, whilst performing life history activities. Symposium contributions will tackle comparative studies of resistance to oxidative damage. They will also test the prediction that organisms enact protection from oxidative damage in such a way as to optimize their lifetime reproductive success. Clarifying the circumstances when oxidative damage explains the resolution of conflicts between life history traits might allow us to move beyond the simplistic model of a universal mechanistic explanation for all life history adaptations. Oxidative stress is an important physiological mediator of the response of birds to anthropogenic changes of the environment, including climate change. By advancing our understanding of oxidative stress physiology and its relationship with life history, this symposium will highlight the potential for advancing the field of conservation physiology.

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Physiological and behavioral shifts in birds: functional mechanisms in an evolutionary context

Co-Conveners

Matthew Louder
East Carolina University, Howell Science Complex Department of Biology
USA
Maude Baldwin
Max Planck for Ornithology
Germany

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Maude Baldwin: "Evolution of Avian Taste Perception: Causes and Consequences of Diet Shifts"
Zac Chevron: "Evolutionary and Functional Genomics of Adaptation to Extreme Environments in Birds"

ABSTRACT
Ornithology has a strong history of interpreting why birds occupy certain habitats and exhibit specific behaviors, yet understanding how birds have achieved these evolutionary adaptations is rarely studied. Until recently, the identification of key mechanisms underlying behavioral and physiological adaptations have largely been reserved for model organisms. By embracing emerging techniques to study functional mechanisms in non-model organisms, ornithologists are now rapidly expanding our understanding of the processes involved in evolutionary diversification. Our symposium explores how mechanistic studies can directly contribute to a holistic view of adaptation. Symposium participants will highlight recent and ongoing studies that seek to identify causal agents that have enabled birds to colonize new environments and novel niches. We aim to compel ornithologists to embrace new advances in physiology and genomics, including the increasing availability of avian reference genomes, and urge ornithologists to continue to play a crucial role in the integration of mechanistic approaches within an evolutionary framework. Thus, we aim to help ornithologists consider many of the new tools that will help forge links between proximate and ultimate causation.

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Seasonal timing: from genome to phenotype

Co-Conveners

Marcel E. Visser
Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
The Netherlands
Barbara Helm
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
United Kingdom

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Michaela Hau: "Is it Time to Breed? Physiological Mechanisms of Breeding Onset"
Phil F. Battley: "The Search for the Basis of Consistent Migration Timing in Bar-tailed Godwits"

ABSTRACT
Precise seasonal timing of avian activities is essential as birds whose itineraries are not well matched with the phenology of their environment may incur considerable costs. Although seasonal changes are pervasive, their environmental and physiological drivers are still not well understood, in part because approaches in the field and laboratory have not been well integrated. Greater knowledge of the proximate and ultimate factors that shape avian timing programs is highly important across fields of ornithology, including for conservation and for studies of avian responses to environmental changes. This symposium is aimed to promote our understanding of avian seasonal timing by integrating phenotypic and molecular approaches. We will i) present new studies on the main events in the annual cycle which combine these tools, ii) demonstrate the potential of molecular data to apply to both wild and captive studies, iii) highlight the potential of integrative approaches to identify the mechanistic basis of seasonal timing, iv) thereby show-case the insights that are generated by such integrative approaches, and finally stimulate discussion, collaboration and integrated efforts of ornithologists who have primarily ecological, genetic and mechanistic interests. The integration of genomic tools is already changing the face of many fields within ornithology and with this symposium, we hope to advance this process of integration.

SEXUAL SIGNALS AND SPECIATION IN BIRDS: COMBINING FIELD AND GENOMIC APPROACHES

Co-Conveners

Michael Webster
Cornell Lab or Ornithology, Cornell University
USA
Darren Irwin
Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia
Canada

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Mike Webster: "Sexual Signals and Speciation in Fairywrens and other Birds: New Insights and Future Directions"
Darren Irwin: "Genomic and Signal Variation across Avian Hybrid Zones: How Important is Sexual Selection in Speciation?"

ABSTRACT
The processes that create biodiversity have long been of interest, particularly in an era when anthropogenic factors are potentially affecting those processes, and birds have emerged as a model system. Sexual signals, such as plumage ornaments and song in birds, are hypothesized to play a key role in development of reproductive isolation between incipient species, but the effects of divergent sexual signals on hybrid zone dynamics and the early stages of speciation have been challenging to assess. Moreover, much of the theoretical and empirical work on speciation has emphasized ecological differentiation, and the role of sexual selection has received far less attention. This situation is now changing and new technological advances are making it possible to address questions that previously were intractable. This symposium will focus on newly developed genomic and behavioural techniques for studying sexual signals and their role in the process of speciation, and in particular will highlight these new advances and the insights they bring. Specifically the objectives are to i) introduce recently developed experimental and comparative techniques, as well as genomic tools, for exploring sexual signals and genomic variation in speciation and ii) highlight recent research for exploring the role and evolution of sexual signals; and iii) provide guidance for future work in this area.

Seasonal Changes in the diet of migratory birds: how is it regulated and how does it affect the physiology and behavior of wild birds?

Co-Conveners

Leonida Fusani
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, University of Veterinary Medicine
Austria
Scott McWilliams
Program in Biological & Environmental Sciences, Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
William Karasov: "Phenotypic Flexibility in Energy Acquisition and Storage"
Leonida Fusani: "The Role of Gastrointestinal Hormones in Regulating Migratory Behaviour"

ABSTRACT
Birds have some unique adaptations for regulating food intake that are related to their extraordinary behavioural phenotypes. Migratory birds, for example, are able to alternate periods of hyperfagia and fattening with periods of fasting and rapid body mass loss, and often change their diet and its quality quite dramatically over the seasons. These changes in food intake and quality and the associated changes in physiology are textbook examples of phenotypic flexibility at multiple scales of biological organization. However, the hormonal regulation of food intake, and in turn how changes in food intake and quality control, limit, and direct physiology and behaviour are poorly understood for wild, non-domesticated birds. This symposium will provide an overview of the role of hormones in regulating food intake in wild birds, and the role of diet quality and quantity in influencing physiology and behaviour of wild birds. Symposium talks will address the role of orexic and anorexic hormones in regulating food intake in wild birds, and we will discuss examples from recent studies that show how diet quality and quantity affect the physiology and behaviour of wild birds and how this may be mediated by hormones.

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The Impact of Anthropogenic noise on birds: interdisciplinary perspectives

Co-Conveners

Elizabeth Derryberry
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University
USA
Dominique Potvin
Ecology, Evolution and Genetics, Research School of Biology, Australian National University
Australia

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
David Luther: "It's Tough to be Heard in the City: Adaptations of Avian Communication in the Presence of Human Noise"
Gail Patricelli: "Conservation of Birds in a Noisy World: Policy Issues and Questions"

ABSTRACT
One fundamental challenge in ornithology is to understand how birds adapt to anthropogenic change. One fruitful approach has been to focus on urban phenotypes, with comparative studies seeking to understand what suite of species traits permits birds to permeate the urban filter. One of the most pervasive environmental changes that have been introduced by humans is anthropogenic noise. Research over the past decade has found that anthropogenic noise strongly influences avian behavior and physiology, population densities and community structures both within and outside of urban centres. Candidate explanations for the strength of these effects on birds include that noise fundamentally alters the acoustic axis of niche space that birds utilize and that it may also act as a chronic physiological stressor, even in the absence of structural landscape changes. This symposium will bring together scientists and conservationists to explore key questions: To what degree are observed responses to noise short-term behavioral changes versus developmental plasticity or heritable genetic responses? Might developmental or behavioral changes to noise facilitate genetic responses? What traits are most likely under selection from altered noise regimes? Given the strength of behavioral and ecological responses to noise, plus the increased awareness of the importance of acoustic space to birds, we predict exciting new findings when investigating the evolutionary consequences of noise pollution.

The Form and function of Birds' nests

Co-Conveners

Mark Mainwaring
Lancaster University
United Kingdom
Vanya Rohwer
Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Sue Healy: "Cognition and Nest Building Birds"
Jim Reynolds: "Urbanisation and Nest Building in Birds"

ABSTRACT
There has been increased interest in the form and function of birds’ nests over the past decade or so highlighting, for example, the sophisticated cognitive abilities required to build nests and the role of nests as extended phenotypic signals of the builder’s quality. The characteristics of birds’ nests are determined by diverse and often opposing selection pressures and they are increasingly being seen as an integral aspect of the reproductive cycle because the conditions experienced within nests strongly influence offspring fitness. This symposium will provide a platform for scientists from across the globe to present their ongoing research examining the form and function of birds’ nests, while linking their work to broader themes of cognitive abilities and selective pressures that shape nest building behaviours. Specifically talks will address utilitarian function of nests, their design and construction, as well as nests as a sexual signal. Nests appear to be an output of the cognitive function of the builder and their complexity and design can be assessed in this manner. Therefore this symposium will present the latest findings relating avian nest building and cognition, as well as overviews of the field.

The Genomics of Adaptation in Birds

Co-Conveners

Dr. Vicki Friesen
Department of Biology, Queen's University
Canada
Dr. Anne Charmantier
CEFE - CNRS
France

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Anne Charmantier: "Genomics of Local Adaptation in Mediterranean Blue Tits and Great Tits"
Dr. Scott Taylor: "Leveraging Genomics in Hybrid Zones to Understand the Generation and Maintenance of Avian Biodiversity"

ABSTRACT
Heritable variation is the foundation of adaptation, and yet the genomic basis of potentially adaptive traits is rarely known. For example, how many loci control a given trait? Are there few genes each with a large effect on the trait, or many genes with small effects? How many alleles occur at each locus? How are they regulated? Answers to these questions determine the potential for populations to adapt to environmental change, the rate with which they adapt, and the potential to respond to multiple simultaneous changes. The genomic basis of quantitative traits, including most morphological, physiological and behavioural traits, are especially poorly known, yet these are the traits that are most important in adaptation to natural and anthropogenic change. Given that natural populations are facing multiple simultaneous threats from anthropogenic activities, understanding the genomic basis of potentially functional traits (e.g. breeding phenology) is critical to understanding – and potentially enhancing – the potential for species to respond to anthropogenic change. Understanding the genomic basis of adaptation also is important for understanding species limits and speciation, but is notoriously difficult to study. Recent advances in genome sequencing are providing unprecedented insights into adaptation. This symposium will highlight the most recent advances for the incorporation of genomics into ecological and evolutionary studies.

THE ROLE OF CITIZEN SCIENCE IN STATE OF BIRD REPORTING AND ITS INFLUENCE ON NATURE CONSERVATION

Co-Conveners

David Noble
British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery
United Kingdom
Jon McCracken
Bird Studies Canada-Études d'Oiseaux Canada
Canada

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
David Noble: "Packaging the Message: Using State of Bird Reports and Indicators to Inform and Influence Nature Conservation"
Jon McCracken: "Keeping up with the Volunteers: Adapting our Approaches to Monitoring"

ABSTRACT
Bird monitoring programs worldwide are well-established exemplars of the citizen science approach, coordinating the efforts of skilled volunteers in carefully designed scientific surveys. These are highly diverse, encompassing breeding and winter bird surveys, atlases, counting migrants, nest recording and bird ringing; resulting in measures of populations, survivorship or breeding performance. The outputs are disseminated in a range of forms such as state of bird reports and increasingly highly summarized, for example as bird indicators. Many already attain high public profile and use by policy makers, but the potential and impact could be higher. The objectives of this symposium are: i) to share the knowledge and experience of nature conservation practitioners and researchers in the use of citizen science to gather data and report on the state of bird populations, and ii) to assess the extent to which state of bird reporting has benefited nature conservation and influenced national and international policies in areas such as agriculture, forestry, marine and climate. We will review the state of the art, highlight best examples and discuss emerging directions, including integrating data to identify critical stages of the life cycle, broader geographic approaches to changes in migration patterns, and the use of novel data capture technologies. Together these talks will address the growing potential for innovative citizen science to inform and influence ornithology and nature conservation in the future.

Towards a Mechanistic understanding of Avian Responses to Climate Change

Co-Conveners

Dr. Janet Gardner
Division of Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of Biology, Australian National University
Australia
Dr. Susie Cunningham
Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town
South Africa

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Prof. Andrew McKechnie: "Behavioural and Physiological Tolerance to Heat in Birds: Implications for Resilience to Climate Change"
Dr. Stephanie Jenouvrier: "Linking Demographic Models and IPCC Climate Projections to Predict Species Response to Climate Change"

ABSTRACT
Climate change is well on the way to becoming the single most important environmental issue of our time, acting in synergy with other global change drivers to promote the greatest biodiversity crisis since the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. Within the rapidly increasing literature on climate change effects on birds, relatively few studies explore underlying mechanisms. Mechanisms linking climate to performance and fitness in birds can be both physiological and behavioural. However, there is growing awareness that the lack of a mechanistic understanding of responses to climate change is hampering ability to predict species’ responses to future change. This symposium will address how we can improve our mechanistic understanding, and thus prediction, of avian responses to climate change by integrating investigation of species’ traits, demography and population dynamics. The talks within this symposium will showcase the progress that has been made in the twin fields of research into the behavioural and physiological responses of birds to climate change, using examples from passerine and non-passerine species in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

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Wetland Foodwebs - the importance of long-chained fatty acids for shorebirds and seabirds

Co-Conveners

Dr. Patricia Baird
Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Simon Fraser University
Canada
Dr. Stephanie Jones
Editor Waterbirds
USA

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. Michael T. Arts: "Aquatic Sources of Omega-3, Long-Chain, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (LC-PUFA) and their Importance for Birds as Terrestrial Subsidies"
Dr. Michail Gladyshev: "Fatty Acid Composition of Bird Species Feeding on Aquatic and Terrestrial Food"

ABSTRACT
This symposium proposes that phytoplankton, like diatoms, are a major driver of marine food webs, and that research on avian food webs in wetlands, the ocean, or terrestrial areas near wetlands, need to incorporate diatoms and other microphytoplankton to understand ecosystem functioning. This symposium is a platform to urge scientists to consider these groups in all of their studies on foraging, growth, reproduction and migration.

Diatoms occur in wetlands, tidal flats, at ice-edges, and other places where birds forage pre-breeding or pre-migration. Seabirds and shorebirds depend on diatoms because they provide essential omega-3 fatty acids that birds cannot produce themselves, which are necessary for long distance migration and reproduction. Even if birds do not consume diatoms directly, their omega-3 fatty acids accumulate up the food chain in zooplankton and fish, and are indirectly consumed by marine-associated birds pre-migration and/or pre-breeding.

As wetlands become more fragmented or altered, or as oceans warm, implications on viability or distribution of primary producers like diatoms in places where these birds forage become grave. We urge all researchers to incorporate diatoms into all of their future studies to understand the link between diatoms and the function and structure of the marine food web.

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YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITY PATTERNS AND THEIR FITNESS-CONSEQUENCES IN MIGRATORY BIRDS

Co-Conveners

Felix Liechti, Ph.D
Head of Bird Migration Department, Swiss Ornithological Institute
Switzerland
Judy Shamoun-Baranes, Ph.D
Computational Geo-Ecology, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Peter Marra, Ph.D: "Studying Birds in the Context of the Annual Cycle: Carry-over Effects and Seasonal Interactions"
Felix Liechti, Ph.D: "Understanding Individual Differences in Year-Round Activity and their Consequences for the Dynamics of Migratory Populations"

ABSTRACT
The aim of this symposium is to explore the fitness consequences of different migration strategies, by considering the entire avian annual routine. The fitness consequences of year-round activity have been poorly addressed at the level of individual birds. Within this symposium we present results for a range of migratory birds, spanning a variety of life-histories, including quantitative investigations on the impact of year-round individual activities patterns on individual energy budget, reproductive success or other, fitness-relevant measures. We aim to integrate theoretical approaches with empirical data which cover a range of migratory patterns and strategies. Recent miniaturization of tracking technology enables the investigation of year-round and even life-time movement activities of birds, which were unattainable until recently. Activity budgets (in space and time) provide important insights into energy expenditure and habitat use. Linking these patterns with fitness consequences (mortality and/or reproductive output) demonstrates the selection acting on migration strategies. This symposium will therefore be of interest for researchers interested in movement ecology, flight energetics, migration and disease ecology. Together the talks will review our understanding of connectivity and carry over effects and thus, population level consequences of migration.