Essay on My PhD: The Conservation Biology of Shorebirds

773 Words 4 Pages
The main direction of my PhD is to reveal why shorebirds are declining. I propose to use a combination of research methods (fieldwork, GIS, phylogenetic analyses), because learning these methods will be highly beneficial in my career as conservation biologist and academic.
I have only decided about 3 papers, each should be suitable for a chapter. The direction of further chapters needs to be discussed as I go along.

Chapter 1. Why are shorebirds declining? Comparative tests of intrinsic and extrinsic variables on threat status and population trends
Shorebird (sandpipers, plovers, gulls and allies) populations are declining globally, driving many species to the brink of extinction (Zockler et al. 2003). It is pointed out that the
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Chapter 2. The impact of population sex ratio on viability of shorebird populations: cost and benefits of the remating in White-fronted Plover and Kittlitz’s Plover in Madagascar
Sex ratio and effective population size have important impacts productivity of species, and thus it has a central role in both conservation and evolutionary biology (Donald 2007). I propose to investigate adult sex ratio by a novel approached developed for the Kentish plover (Székely et al. 1999). It is suggested that the proportion of fertile females to adults’ males in a population (Operational Sex Ratio OSR – Emlen & Oring 1977) should affected the remating opportunities of each sex. Therefore, as remating opportunities decreases in a given population, more remating time is predicted to occur for both sexes and cooperation such as biparental care are important for reproductive success. On the other hand, as remating opportunities increase, more conflict between sexes and uniparental care could be the rule. In the last case, either male or female could have more opportunities to remate depending on sex ratio. These predictions will be tested with two species of plovers which have different breeding systems: the White-fronted plover -Charadrius marginatus- a monogamous species with biparental care and the Kittlitz’s plover - Charadrius pecuarius – a polygamous species with uniparental

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