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Debora Arlt

Debora Arlt
I am a population ecologist, I am interested in how the environment shapes individual variation in behaviour and demography and hence population dynamics. In my research I focus on habitat selection and dispersal, and how those processes interact with habitat and climate to affect individual fitness and population dynamics. Other projects concern promoting the use of Citizen Science data for evaluations of environmental changes, and long-term monitoring of landscape. Since October 2018 I work for Swedish LifeWatch and Wireless Remote Animal Monitoring (e-infrastructures for biodiversity data).

Presentation

PROJECTS

Population dynamics of northern wheatears (farmland bird, long-distance migrant)

Opportunistic species observations (Artportalen reports) – how can they be used for environmental monitoring and in ecology? (financed by the Swedish Research Council Formas)

BIRDS - Biodiversity Information Review and Decision Support – a tool to review biodiversity data (R package, developed with financial support by Formas)

Estimation of phenology using opportunistic records from Artportalen

Landscape monitoring (Regional miljöövervakning i landskapsrutor)

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Population ecology / landscape ecology / environmental monitoring / citizen science data / databases

 

NEWS

latest papers:

Temporal trends in opportunistic citizen science reports across multiple taxa

Fluctuating optimum and temporally variable selection on breeding date in birds and mammals

Why we should care about movements: Using spatially explicit integrated population models to assess habitat source–sink dynamics

Evaluating inclusion criteria for local species lists when using abundant citizen science data

Improving scientific rigour in conservation evaluations and a plea deal for transparency on potential biases. In Conservation Letters.

other:

R package BIRDS - Biodiversity Information Review and Decision Support - ett a tool for reviewing biodiversity data, available on GitHub (developed with financial support by the Swedish Research Council Formas)

 

ABOUT SOME RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Quantifying the links between land use and population growth rate in a declining farmland bird. publicerad i tidskriften Ecology & Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.4766. Here we examine, using an integrated population model, how the spatiotemporal variation in land use and habitat‐specific demographic parameters relate to variation in population growth. We find that it is mainly habitat with short field layers (grazed or cut grasslands) that contribute most to recruitment (survival and establishment) of juvenile wheatears and so population growth. Immigration from outside the population also seems to play a role. Our main conclusion confirms some earlier findings - that a higher proportion of habitats with short field layers would have a positive effect on population growth, i.e. if more wheatears would find availabe breeding sites in habitats with short field layers (grazed pastures, farm environments with cut lawns) then the eralier declining population trend could be reversed.

Small changes in timing of breeding among subarctic passerines over a 32 year period. published in Ibis. doi:10.1111/ibi.12682

Hatching failure and accumulation of organic pollutants through the terrestrial food web of a declining songbird in Western Europe. published in Science of The Total Environment. A collaborative study using data from the wheatear project: Many migratory songbirds decline without reasons being known. We found elevated hatching failure in eggs of Dutch Northern Wheatears and explore potential causes. We measured different toxins as dioxin-like compounds in the foodweb and determined receptor type. Despite clear accumulation in the food chain, DLCs are unlikely the only cause of egg failure since Northern Wheatears have a not very sensitive receptor type. Egg failure and embryo malformation are still a mystery: we discuss other toxins, nutrient deficiency or inbreeding. read the full story here

Research

Habitat selection, dispersal, life-history and population dynamics: Linking habitat selection, dispersal and population dynamics using demographic data from a long-term population study of northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), a farmland bird breeding in a mosaic agricultural landscape in Central Sweden. During my post-doctoral studies I also used data from a long-term population study of Mauritius kestrels. Spatial dynamics, density-dependence and population regulation. Population responses to environmental variation and environmental change. Read more about the wheatear project here (sorry, at the moment only in Swedish).

Climatic variation, breeding time and population dynamics: Investigating population responses to environmental change, using data from a long-term population study of northern wheatears.

Migration: We have used geolocators to track wheatears during their annual cycle, studying their migratory route and winter area and migration schedule. We link climatic conditions during the winter area and on migration to variation of demographic rates. We aim at identifying the relative role of environmental variation during the breeding and wintering (migration) period, and the stages during the annual cycle most critical for population dynamics for this long-distance migrant.

Population dynamics of wheatears - people currently involved: Tomas Pärt, Matt Low, Pär Forslund, Matthieu Paquet, Jonas Knape. People previously involved: Sönke Eggers, Meit Öberg, Tobias Jeppsson, Matthew Hiron; Nicole Schneider

Changes in phenology: Investigating changes in arrival dates and breeding time of northern wheatears and their role for reproduction and survival. Estimating changes in arrival times using Citizen Science data from the Swedish Species Gateway Artportalen, latitudinal variation in phenological shifts, and link to population trends by linking opportunistic citizen science data and monitoring data. I am also involved in starting a standardised bird phenology monitoring scheme Fågelkalendern.

Using opportunistic citizen science data for evaluations of environmental change: Can opportunistically collected citizen science data be used to monitor, evaluate and predict effects of environmental change on biodiversity? This projects aims at promoting the use of opportunistic citizen science data, mainly data reported to the Swedish Species Gateway Artportalen . This data can be of value for environmental evaluations & nature conservation, with reports of species observations collected by volunteers providing rich spatial & temporal resolution. But those data lack standardisation, with reports shaped by the preferences of observers, and not randomly distributed in space and time, creating biases that may cause erroneous interpretations. This project will identify and visualise problems of error and bias and provide guidelines on how to use these data. Financed by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS. people involved: Alejandro Ruete, Tomas Pärt, Jonas Knape.

Landscape monitoring in Sweden: The regional landscape monitoring (Regional landskapsövervakning) surveys small biotopes (small landscape elements), grassland and wetlands in collaboration between county boards (länsstyrelser) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences – SLU. What is the status of habitats important for plants and animals, and how do those habitat change over time? Since 2014 I am working with data from the inventory of small biotopes in the agricultural landscape. We are investigating the prerequisites for a rich agricultural landscape and farmland biodiversity, and work on developing a small-biotope indicator to follow up on national environmental goals. people involved: Anders Glimskär, Merit Kindström, Jonas Josefsson

Selected publications

Knape J, Coulson SJ, van der Wal R & Arlt D 2021. Temporal trends in opportunistic citizen science reports across multiple taxa. Ambio, doi:10.1007/s13280-021-01550-w

Kačergytė I, Arlt D, Berg Å, Żmihorski M, Knape J, Rosin ZM & Pärt T 2021. Evaluating created wetlands for bird diversity and reproductive success. Biological Conservation 257:109084, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109084

de Villemereuil P, Charmantier A, Arlt D, Bize P, Brekke P, Brouwer L, Côté S, Dobson S, Evans S, Festa-Bianchet M, Gamelon M, Hamel S, Hegelbach J, Kempenaers B, Kruuk L, Kvalnes T, McAdam A, McFarlane E, Morrissey M, Pemberton J, Schroeder J, Senar JC, Sheldon B, van de Pol M, Visser ME, Wheelwright N, Tufto J & Chevin L-M 2020. Fluctuating optimum and temporally variable selection on breeding date in birds and mammals. PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.2009003117

Paquet M, Forslund P, Knape J, Low M, Pärt T, Arlt D 2020. Why we should care about movements: Using spatially explicit integrated population models to assess habitat source-sink dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology, doi:10.1111/1365-2656.13357

Ruete A, Arlt D, Berg Å, Knape J, Żmihorski M & Pärt T 2020. Cannot see the diversity for all the species: Evaluating inclusion criteria for local species lists when using abundant citizen science data. Ecology & Evolution 10: 10057-10065. Doi: 10.1002/ece3.6665

Wang E, Zhang D, Braun MS, Hotz-Wagenblatt A, Pärt T, Arlt D, Schmaljohann H, Bairlein F, Lei F & Wink M. 2020 Can Mitogenomes of the Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Reconstruct Its Phylogeography and Reveal the Origin of Migrant Birds? Scientific Reports 10, 9290 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66287-0

Josefsson J, Hiron M, Arlt D, Auffret A, Berg Å, Chevalier M, Glimskär A, Hartman G, Kačergytė I, Klein J, Knape J, Laugen AT, Low M, Paquet M, Pasanen Mortensen M, Rosin Z, Rubene D, Żmihorski M, Pärt T  2020 Improving scientific rigour in conservation evaluations and a plea deal for transparency on potential biases. Conservation letters. doi:10.1111/conl.12726

Low M, Arlt D, Knape J, Pärt T & Öberg M 2019 Factors influencing plasticity in the arrival-breeding interval in a migratory species reacting to climate change. Ecology & Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.5716

Paquet M, Arlt D, Knape J, Low M, Forslund P & Pärt T 2019 Quantifying the links between land use and population growth rate in a declining farmland bird. Ecology & Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.4766

Ram D, Nyholm NEI, Arlt D & Lindström Å 2018 Small changes in timing of breeding among subarctic passerines over a 32 year period. Ibis. doi:10.1111/ibi.12682

van Oosten HH, van den Burg AB, Arlt D, Both C, van den Brink NW, Jeppsson T, de Kroon H, Traag W & Siepel H 2018 Hatching failure and accumulation of organic pollutants through the terrestrial food web of a declining songbird in Western Europe. Science of the Total Environment. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.09.138

Knape J, Arlt D, Barraquand F, Berg Å, Chevalier M, Pärt T, Ruete A & Żmihorski M 2018 Sensitivity of binomial N-mixture models to overdispersion: the importance of assessing model fit. Methods in Ecol & Evol. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.1306

Arlt D & Pärt T. 2017. Marked reduction in demographic rates and reduced fitness advantage for early breeding is not linked to reduced thermal matching of breeding time. Ecology & Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3603

Pärt T, Knape J, Low M, Öberg M & Arlt D. Disentangling the effects of date, individual and territory quality on the seasonal decline in fitness. Ecology. doi: 10.1002/ecy.1891

Glimskär, A., Arlt, D., Grandin, U., Kindström, M., Kindström, S. & Wikberg, S. 2016. Resultat från regionala delprogram för småbiotoper, gräsmarker och myrar 2009-2014. Report. Länsstyrelsen i Örebro län, Publ. nr. 2016:35.

Schmaljohann H, Meier C, Arlt D, Bairlein F, van Oosten H, Morbey YE, Åkesson S, Buchmann M, Chernetsov N, Desaever R, Elliott J, Hellström M, Liechti F, López A, Middleton J, Ottosson U, Pärt T, Slina F & Eikenaar C 2016 Proximate causes of avian protandry differ between subspecies with contrasting migration challenges. Behavioral Ecology 27:321-331, doi: 10.1093/beheco/arv160.

Arlt D, Olsson P, Fox J, Low M & Pärt T 2015 Prolonged stopover duration characterises migration strategy and constraints of a long-distance migrant songbird. Animal Migration 2:47–62. doi: 10.1515/ami-2015-0002

Low M, Arlt D, Pärt T & Öberg M 2015 Delayed timing of breeding as a cost of reproduction. Journal of Avian Biology 46:325–331. doi: 10.1111/jav.00623. Editor's choice

Öberg M, Pärt T, Arlt D, Laugen A & Low M 2015 Rainfall during parental care reduces reproductive and survival components of fitness in a passerine bird. Ecology & Evolution 5:345–356. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1345

Öberg M, Pärt T, Arlt D, Laugen AT & Low M. 2014 Decomposing the seasonal fitness decline. Oecologia 174:139-150. doi: 10.1007/s00442-013-2763-z

Arlt D, Low M & Pärt T. 2013 Effect of geolocators on migration and subsequent breeding performance of a long-distance migrant. PLoS ONE 8(12): e82316. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082316

Nevoux M, Arlt D, Nicoll M, Jones C & Norris K 2013 The short- and long-term fitness consequences of natal dispersal in a wild bird population. Ecology Letters 16:438–445. doi: 10.1111/ele.12060

Schneider NA, Low M, Arlt D & Pärt T 2012 Contrast in Edge Vegetation Structure modifies the Predation Risk of Natural Ground Nests in an Agricultural Landscape. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31517. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031517 x

Pärt T, Arlt D, Doligez B, Low M & Qvarnström A 2011 Prospectors combine social and environmental information to improve habitat selection and breeding success in the subsequent year. Journal of Animal Ecology 80:1227–1235. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01854.x

Nevoux M, Gimenez O, Arlt D, Nicoll M, Jones C & Norris K 2011 Population regulation of territorial species: both site dependence and interference mechanisms matter. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 278:2173-2181. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2352

Ahlering MA, Arlt D, Betts MG, Fletcher RJ, Nocera JJ & Ward MP 2010 Research needs and recommendations for the use of conspecific attraction methods in the conservation of migratory songbirds. Condor 112:252-264

Low M, Arlt D, Eggers S & Pärt T 2010 Habitat-specific differences in adult survival rates and its links to parental workload and on-nest predation. Journal of Animal Ecology 79:214-224

Arlt D, Forslund P, Jeppsson T & Pärt T 2008 Habitat-specific population growth of a farmland bird. PLoS ONE 3, e3006. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003006

Low M, Eggers S, Arlt D & Pärt T 2008 Daily patterns of nest visits are correlated with ambient temperature in the northern wheatear. Journal of Ornithology 140:515-519

Arlt D & Pärt T 2008 Sex-biased dispersal: a result of a sex-difference in breeding site availability. American Naturalist 171:844-850

Arlt D & Pärt T 2008 Post-breeding information gathering and breeding territory shifts in northern wheatears. Journal of Animal Ecology 77:211-219

Pärt T, Arlt D & Villard M-A 2007 Detecting ecological traps: avian and human perspectives. Journal of Ornithology 148:S327-332

Arlt D & Pärt T 2007 Nonideal breeding habitat selection: A mismatch between preference and breeding success. Ecology 88:792-801

Links


Contact

Researcher at the Swedish Species Information Centre; SLU Artdatabanken, Forskning och fynddata
Telephone: +4618672229, +46722491138
Postal address:
Almas Allé 8E
Box 7007
750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Almas Allé 8E, Uppsala