Effects of mast seeding on population dynamics of forest birds

PI: Jakub Szymkowiak

Co-investigators: Michał Bogdziewicz, Lechosław Kuczyński

Description: Mast seeding, i.e. synchronized and intermittent production of a large seed crop, trigger a cascade of direct and indirect effects that permeate throughout forest ecosystems. In years with high acorn production, generalist consumers (e.g., rodents) are temporally released from food limitation and their populations grow rapidly the following year. However, mast seeding not only affects seed consumers but also a number of generalist predators that respond to increased rodent populations. This may cause temporal peaks in nest predation risk to songbirds. In this project, we investigate (1) how mast seeding affects nest predation on forest songbirds and (2) how ecological and life-history traits affect the way birds respond to masting and rodent outbreaks.

More info: jakubszymkowiak.wordpress.com

Selected publications:

Szymkowiak J., Thomson R.L. 2019. Nest predator avoidance during habitat selection of a songbird varies with mast peaks and troughs. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73:91, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-019-2702-z

Szymkowiak J., Kuczyński L. 2015. Avoiding predators in a fluctuating environment: responses of the wood warbler to pulsed resources. Behavioral Ecology, 26: 601-608, DOI: 10.1093/beheco/aru237