Inherent limits of light-level geolocation may lead to over-interpretation


Contact
simeon.lisovski [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

In their 2015 Current Biology paper, Streby et al. [1] reported that Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera), which had just migrated to their breeding location in eastern Tennessee, performed a facultative and up to “>1,500 km roundtrip” to the Gulf of Mexico to avoid a severe tornadic storm. From light-level geolocator data, wherein geographical locations are estimated via the timing of sunrise and sunset, Streby et al. [1] concluded that the warblers had evacuated their breeding area approximately 24 hours before the storm and returned about five days later. The authors presented this finding as evidence that migratory birds avoid severe storms by temporarily moving long-distances. However, the tracking method employed by Streby et al. [1] is prone to considerable error and uncertainty. Here, we argue that this interpretation of the data oversteps the limits of the used tracking technique. By calculating the expected geographical error range for the tracked birds, we demonstrate that the hypothesized movements fell well within the geolocators’ inherent error range for this species and that such deviations in latitude occur frequently even if individuals remain stationary.



Item Type
Article
Authors
Divisions
Primary Division
Programs
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
52154
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.072

Cite as
Lisovski, S. , Schmaljohann, H. , Bridge, E. S. , Bauer, S. , Farnsworth, A. , Gauthreaux, S. A. , Hahn, S. , Hallworth, M. T. , Hewson, C. M. , Kelly, J. F. , Liechti, F. , Marra, P. P. , Rakhimberdiev, E. , Ross, J. D. , Seavy, N. E. , Sumner, M. D. , Taylor, C. M. , Winkler, D. W. , Wotherspoon, S. J. and Wunder, M. B. (2018): Inherent limits of light-level geolocation may lead to over-interpretation , Current Biology, 28 (3), R99-R100 . doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.072


Download
[img]
Preview
PDF
Lisovski_et_al-2018-CurrBiol.pdf

Download (448kB) | Preview

Share


Citation

Research Platforms
N/A

Campaigns


Actions
Edit Item Edit Item