• Updates on Avian Influenza Situation by FAO/EMPRES-AH (Sep 2023 – Dec 2023)

    The following article is based on a summary provided by Kamata Akiko from the FAO Animal Production and Health division (NSAH): FAO/EMPRES-AH consistently monitors the global avian influenza situation, gathering information from various national and international sources and peer-reviewed scientific articles. Through close collaboration with country and regional offices, the implementation of avian influenza field surveillance projects, and networks of expertise such as WOAH/FAO’s OFFLU (www.offlu.org), timely information on outbreaks, surveillance findings, and genetic similarities of circulating viruses or their virological features is made accessible. This information is stored in the EMPRES Global Animal Disease Information System (EMPRES-i), a database available online at https://empres-i.apps.fao.org/. Between September 3 and December 2, 2023, three distinct subtypes of avian influenza virus were reported in East and South-East Asia. Among these, only H5N1 or H5 were confirmed to be highly pathogenic in poultry. ©EMPRES-I In September, India reported one H5N1 HPAI event in Black Swans and Silver pheasants in a national park in Maharashtra State. The Republic of Korea reported 39 LPAI events in 8 out of 17 provinces, including 35 H5N3 LPAI, one H5N2 LPAI, and two H5 LPAI events in captured or dead wild birds and their droppings — and since November 27, three H5N1 HPAI events in captured or dead wild birds in North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang provinces, and one H5N1 HPAI outbreak on a duck farm in South Jeolla Province. Since October 4, Japan reported 52 events of H5N1 HPAI in 13 out of 47 prefectures among various bird species (e.g., Anatidae, eastern buzzard, eastern spot-billed duck, Eurasian teal, Eurasian wigeon, hooded crane, large-billed crow, mountain hawk-eagle, peregrine falcon, red-crowned crane, Tundra swan, whooper swan, a captive falcon, and its prey) and environmental samples, including water samples from the Izumi Wintering Habitat of Cranes. Since November 24, four H5N1 HPAI outbreaks in layer chickens in four prefectures. China reported one detection of H5N1 HPAI in environmental samples collected from Sihcao Wetland in Tainan City on November 18, along with five outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in poultry in Tainan City, Chiayi, Miaoli, Yunlin counties, and one detection at a slaughterhouse in Taipei City in Taiwan Province. Indonesia reported an unspecified subtype of HPAI outbreak during September-October. Viet Nam officially reported HPAI outbreaks in domestic birds in Binh Duong, Long An, and Quang Nam provinces, also detecting H5N1 in two markets in Nghe An Province. In Cambodia, a total of four H5N1 HPAI outbreaks in village poultry were reported in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces in October, and in Kampot Province in November. Meanwhile, three cases of human infection with influenza A(H5N1) virus were reported from Cambodia in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces in October and Kampot Province in November. China also reported one case of A(H5N6) in Chongqing in September and one case of A(H9N2) in Sichuan in October. Highly pathogenic H5Nx viruses have demonstrated the ability to spread via migratory water birds. During this period, H5N1 HPAI events have also been reported in wild birds near Antarctica, namely among brown skua in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and southern fulmar and black-browed albatross in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). We consider avian influenza activity in the East Asia flyway area to have increased during this period, so reports of outbreaks in poultry and detections in wild birds and some mammal species are expected to increase over the coming months in the region. The list of bird species affected by H5Nx HPAI globally is available HERE with the new species reported since 2021 highlighted in orange.


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  • Literature list (Jul–Dec 2023)

    1) Biology & Ecology XU, Z., DONG, B., WEI, Z., LU, Z., LIU, X. and XU, H. 2023. Study on habitat suitability change and habitat network of rare wintering cranes in important international wetlands. -Ecological Indicators, 154: 110692. LEU, M., ISDELL, R. E., GALVIN III, R. M., RAPP, A. J., MASON, S. D., BILKOVIC, D. M. and CHAMBERS, R. M. 2023. Comparable use of tidal living shorelines and natural‐fringe marshes by herons and shorebirds. -Ecosphere, 14: e4683. LIANG, D., MU, T., YANG, Z., GIAM, X., WANG, Y., LI, J., CAI, S., ZHANG, X., WANG, Y. and LIU, Y. 2023. Assessing shorebird mortalities due to razor clam aquaculture at key migratory stopover sites in southeastern China. -Conservation Biology: e14185. PENG, H.-B., CHOI, C.-Y., MA, Z., BIJLEVELD, A. I., MELVILLE, D. S. and PIERSMA, T. 2023. Individuals of a group-living shorebird show smaller home range overlap when food availability is low. -Movement Ecology, 11: 70. LYU, C., ZHANG, S., REN, X., LIU, M., LEUNG, K. S. K., HE, T., CHEN, Q. and CHOI, C. Y. 2023. The effect of Spartina alterniflora eradication on waterbirds and benthic organisms. -Restoration Ecology: e14023. PENG, H. B., MA, Z., RAKHIMBERDIEV, E., VAN GILS, J. A., BATTLEY, P. F., ROGERS, D. I., CHOI, C. Y., WU, W., FENG, X. and MA, Q. 2023. Arriving late and lean at a stopover site is selected against in a declining migratory bird population. -Journal of Animal Ecology, 92: 2109-2118. LIU, P., LIU, M., XIAO, D., HE, Y., FAN, R., LU, C., WEN, L., ZENG, Q. and LEI, G. 2023. Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus) equalizes foraging costs with depth by switching foraging tactics. -Avian Research, 14: 100129. GU, J., ZHANG, Y., WANG, F. and KONG, Z. 2023. Simulation and analysis of red-crowned crane habitat suitability using maximum entropy and information entropy models. -Ecological Indicators, 155: 110999. CHEN, C., LU, Y., LIU, Y., YAO, Y., CHEN, Y. and LIU, J. 2023. Stimulating effects of whooper swans’ behaviors on nutrient releasing from the sediments caused by different human feeding intensities in the swan Lake, China. -Ecological Indicators, 154: 110818. 2) Conservation & Management XU, M., LIU, Z., SONG, X., WANG, F., WANG, Y., YANG, L., OTAKI, T., SHEN, J., KOMATSU, T. and CHENG, J. 2023. Tidal Variations of Fish Larvae Measured Using a 15-Day Continuous Ichthyoplankton Survey in Subei Shoal: Management Implications for the Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis) Population in Yancheng Nature Reserve. -Animals, 13: 3088. WEI, X., ZHANG, G., JI, Y., YANG, G., LI, Y., SHI, D., ZHENG, H. and PENG, J. 2023. Conservation of Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii): Insights from the identification of critical stopover sites and migration corridors. -Global Ecology Conservation Biology, 47: e02687. CAI, S., MU, T., PENG, H. B., MA, Z. and WILCOVE, D. S. 2023. Importance of habitat heterogeneity in tidal flats to the conservation of migratory shorebirds. -Conservation Biology: e14153. TANG, N., MA, Y., LI, S., YAN, Y., CHENG, C., LU, G., LI, F., LV, L., QIN, P. and NGUYEN, H. B. 2023. Identifying the Wetlands of International Importance in Beibu Gulf along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, based on multiple citizen science datasets. -Frontiers in Marine Science, 10: 1333889. VONBANK, J. A., COLLINS, D. P., ELLIS, K. S., DONNELLY, J. P. and KNETTER, J. M. 2023. Movement dynamics influence population monitoring and adaptive harvest management strategies in migratory birds. -Global Ecology Conservation Biology, 48: e02715. YI, K., MENG, F., GU, D. and MIAO, Q. 2023. Optimizing Water Level Management Strategies to Strengthen Reservoir Support for Bird’s Migration Network. -Remote Sensing, 15: 5508. LOYN, R. H., ROGERS, D. I., SWINDLEY, R. J., MENKHORST, P. W., STAMATION, K., HAYNES, S., GRAHAM, H., HEPWORTH, G. and STEELE, W. K. 2023. Waterfowl populations decline with nutrient reduction and increase with nutrient restoration: 20 years of adaptive management at a Ramsar-listed wastewater treatment plant. -Hydrobiologia, 850: 4127-4147. Liu, J., C. Yi, S. Tang, W. Zhang, K. Wen, C. Qin, L. Huang, D. Liu, and A. Jiang. 2023. Impact of coastal island restoration engineering and subsequent tourism on migratory waterbirds: a 3‐year case from Southern China. Restoration Ecology: e13974. Li, L., M. Yan, Y. Hong, W. Feng, D. Xie, and E. Pagani-Núñez. 2023. Protecting China’s major urban bird diversity hotspots. Ambio:1-12. Nguyen, P.-T. N., T.-X. Tran, T.-H. Pham, and K.-D. Nguyen. 2023. Livelihoods and human impacts in Tan Thanh mudflat, Tien Giang Province, Vietnam. Research Journal of Biotechnology Vol 18:8. Li, X., X. Hou, K. Shan, Y. Liu, Y. Song, X. Wang, P. Du, and C. Fan. 2023. Identifying shorebird conservation hotspots and restoration gaps in stopover sites: A perspective of ‘ecologically linked’ habitats. Global Ecology and Conservation 48: e02725. Zhang, W., Wei J., Xu Y. 2023. Prioritizing global conservation of migratory birds over their migration network. One Earth Volume 6, Issue 10, P1340-1349. Bhandari, M. 2023. Using Nepal to understand the nexus of climate change and land-use. Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment. 3) Avian Influenza /Others BARKHASBAATAR, A., GILBERT, M., FINE, A. E., SHIILEGDAMBA, E., DAMDINJAV, B., BUUVEIBAATAR, B., KHISHGEE, B., JOHNSON, C. K., LEUNG, C. Y. and ANKHANBAATAR, U. 2023. Ecological characterization of 175 low‐pathogenicity avian influenza viruses isolated from wild birds in Mongolia, 2009–2013 and 2016– -Veterinary Medicine Science, 9: 2676-2685. XU, Y., TANG, L., GU, X., BO, S., MING, L., MA, M., ZHAO, C., SUN, K., LIU, Y. and HE, G. 2023. Characterization of avian influenza A (H4N2) viruses isolated from wild birds in Shanghai during 2019 to 2021. -Poultry Science, 102: 102948. Liverani, M., K. Song, and J. W. Rudge. 2023. Mapping emerging trends and South–South cooperation in regional knowledge networks: A bibliometric analysis of avian influenza research in Southeast Asia. Journal of International Development. 1) Biology & Ecology Study on habitat suitability change and habitat network of rare wintering cranes in important international wetlands XU, Z., DONG, B., WEI, Z., LU, Z., LIU, X. and XU, H. Abstract: Chongming Dongtan wetland is a typical estuarine wetland, located in Chongming District, Shanghai, China, with high ecological significance. The protection of wintering crane's habitat has attracted the wide attention of the international community. Because of the importance of the region in the protection of international biodiversity and the protection of crane habitats, it is of great reference value to study the habitat suitability changes of rare wintering cranes with spatial and temporal distribution characteristics and the distribution of habitat corridors with spatial characteristics, to improve the habitat quality of crane habitats in globally important wetlands. Based on the remote sensing image data of Chongming Dongtan and the field survey data of rare wintering cranes, this study obtained the land use change of Chongming Dongtan from 1986 to 2021 by ENVI and ArcGIS10.8 software, evaluated the habitat suitability of wintering cranes in 36 years by GIS technology, and constructed the habitat corridor of wintering cranes by using the minimum cumulative resistance model(MCR). The results showed that from 1986 to 2021, the number of four typical wintering cranes in Chongming Dongtan showed a general downward trend. In the past 36 years, the habitat suitability of wintering cranes in the internationally important wetland of Chongming Dongtan has gradually changed from a suitable area to an unsuitable area. The suitable areas are mainly distributed in the eastern and northern parts of the study area, and the unsuitable areas are mainly distributed in the western construction land area. The habitat quality of cranes is deteriorating. The overall resistance distribution of Chongming Dongtan in 2021 shows a trend of low resistance value in the east and high resistance value in the west, and the degree of obstruction is strong in the south and weak in the north. There are 208 potential habitat corridors for wintering cranes in Chongming Dongtan, with a total length of 377.12 km. Get 127 Habitat nodes. The density of habitat corridors in the eastern part of the study area is significantly higher than that in the western region, and the ecological space in the eastern region is well connected. Finally, this study proposes the identification of important habitat corridors based on gravity model and the analysis of habitat network structure based on graph theory, which provides a reference for improving the stability of habitat network by means of habitat node optimization, stepping stone increase and ecological restoration. This study is different from previous studies on large-scale ecological conditions such as cities or urban coastal zones. From the perspective of the construction of regional wetland rare species habitat network and the protection of international important wetland biodiversity with important ecological value, it is helpful to optimize the suitable habitat pattern of rare overwintering cranes and provide a method basis for the protection of rare species habitat and the construction of habitat network in regional wetlands. At the same time, Chongming Dongtan is the only internationally important wetland in Shanghai. Wintering cranes are the most important biological resources of wetlands. The study of habitat suitability changes and habitat networks can effectively promote the development of internationally important wetland cities in Shanghai. Comparable use of tidal living shorelines and natural-fringe marshes by herons and shorebirds LEU, M., ISDELL, R. E., GALVIN III, R. M., RAPP, A. J., MASON, S. D., BILKOVIC, D. M. and CHAMBERS, R. M. Abstract: Living shorelines (LSs) increasingly are implemented as a defense against coastal erosion and rising seas; however, their ecological function for wading birds has not been evaluated. Here, we compared heron and shorebird use of LSs (created fringe salt marshes with a wave break fronting the planted marshes) to natural-fringe marshes (NFMs) in the Chesapeake Bay. We assessed the use between May and August in 2018 and 2019 at 13 tidal marsh pairs, each consisting of one LS and NFM site, with sites within pairs having similar surrounding land use and wave exposure. In each year, we assessed diurnal use with video cameras recording at least four 30-min segments/day for a total of 677 h of video, and nocturnal/diurnal use with acoustic recording equipment recording 10-min sound files every 2 h/day for a total of 160 h of recording. We quantified diurnal use by measuring the total time a species spent at a site, and nocturnal/diurnal use by estimating the probability of detection (i.e., presence/absence). We detected four heron and five shorebird species when data were aggregated across pairs and sampling methods. Using Bayesian mixed models, time of use did not differ between LS and NFM sites for great blue herons (Ardea herodias) and yellow-crowned night-herons (Nyctanassa violacea). In contrast, time of use was higher for green herons (Butorides virescens) and spotted sandpipers (Actitis macularis) at LS sites but tended to be higher for great egrets (Ardea alba) at NFM sites. The probability of detection did not differ between LS and NFM sites for great blue herons and great egrets (combined as “Ardea spp.” due to difficulty in differentiating calls under noisy conditions), yellow-crowned night-herons, and spotted sandpipers. Green herons and killdeer (Charadrius vociferous), however, tended to be detected more frequently at LS sites. Collectively, our research indicates that LSs are functionally equivalent to NFMs for herons and shorebirds. We hypothesize that the low-profile rock sills of LS provide platforms for resting and preening and offer prey even when vegetated marshes are unavailable to short-legged species during flooding tides. In addition to their established reduction of coastal erosion, LSs provide habitat for herons and shorebird species. Assessing shorebird mortalities due to razor clam aquaculture at key migratory stopover sites in southeastern China LIANG, D., MU, T., YANG, Z., GIAM, X., WANG, Y., LI, J., CAI, S., ZHANG, X., WANG, Y. and LIU, Y. Abstract: Aquaculture can provide foraging habitat for birds, but it can also result in intentional and accidental mortality. We examined an overlooked conflict between razor clam (Sinonovacula spp.) aquaculture and declining shorebirds in southeastern China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces. We surveyed 6 out of 11 internationally important stopover sites for these shorebirds and monitored shorebird mortality in 2 sites (Xinghua Bay, Yueqing Bay) with razor clam aquaculture. We visited an additional 32 sites in these 2 provinces to determine if there was netting in other razor clam farms. Approximately 8–9 km2 of intertidal foraging habitat was covered by horizontal nets to prevent birds from feeding on young razor clams at Xinghua Bay and Yueqing Bay. We conservatively estimated that 13,676 (2.5th–97.5th percentile 8,330–21,285) individual shorebirds were entangled in the nets at the 2 monitored sites in April and May 2021, including 2 endangered and 7 near-threatened species. Mortality of 5 species for which we had sufficient data accounted for 0.76% (black-tailed godwit [Limosa limosa]) to 4.27% (terek sandpiper [Xenus cinereus]) of their total flyway populations. This level of mortality could strongly affect their populations. We found netting at 17 additional razor clam farms, indicating a widespread threat to shorebirds. Although razor clams are typically harvested in late March to early April, nets are left on the mudflats throughout the spring and summer, including when the bulk of shorebird migration takes place. Immediately removing these nets after the clam harvest could prevent most of the spring mortality of shorebirds, although this is unlikely to happen without government regulations or economic incentives. To better assess and mitigate the impacts of this conflict, future research should quantify shorebird mortality at other razor clam farms, including during winter, explore less harmful deterrence methods, and assess the socioeconomic factors driving the conflict. Individuals of a group-living shorebird show smaller home range overlap when food availability is low PENG, H.-B., CHOI, C.-Y., MA, Z., BIJLEVELD, A. I., MELVILLE, D. S. and PIERSMA, T. Abstract: Group living animals, such as shorebirds foraging on intertidal mudflats, may use social information about where to find hidden food items. However, flocking also increases intraspecific competition for resources, which may be exacerbated by food scarcity. Therefore, although aggregation may bring benefits, it may also increase the intensity of intraspecific competition. We examined this trade-off in adult great knots Calidris tenuirostris, a molluscivorous long-distance migrating shorebird species, using interannual variation based on 2 years with different levels of food availability during their northward migratory staging in the northern Yellow Sea, China. We estimated individual home ranges and the extent of spatial overlap of home ranges of individually tagged birds in 2012 and 2015, whilst discounting for possible differences in body size, body mass, sex and migration schedule between years. We found that home range size was not associated with body mass, arrival date, body size, or sex of the individual. Despite a significant difference in food availability between the two study years, there was no significant change in the 50% and 95% home range size of great knots in the contrasting situations. However, there was a significantly smaller spatial overlap between individuals in the year when food was less available, suggesting that great knots operated more independently when food was scarce than when it was abundant. These results suggest that minimizing intraspecific competition became more important when food was scarce. Where it is impossible to monitor all habitats en route, monitoring the local movements of shorebirds may offer a way to detect changes in habitat quality in real time. The effect of Spartina alterniflora eradication on waterbirds and benthic organisms LYU, C., ZHANG, S., REN, X., LIU, M., LEUNG, K. S. K., HE, T., CHEN, Q. and CHOI, C. Y. Abstract: There has been an increasing number of coastal restoration projects to eradicate Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) and restore bare tidal flats to conserve waterbirds. However, the evidence for the assumed benefits to waterbirds and benthic organisms after such restoration efforts remains limited. We evaluated the impact of S. alterniflora eradication on waterbirds and benthic organisms in southern China. We deployed time-lapse cameras and satellite trackers to quantify and compare the occurrence frequency and habitat use of birds in different habitats. We compared the density and biomass of benthic organisms collected in bare tidal flats and areas where S. alterniflora had been eradicated. We found that almost all waterbirds, except gulls, avoided areas where S. alterniflora was present. Once S. alterniflora was eradicated, the species richness and species-level diversity of shorebirds and waterbirds did not differ significantly from those of the bare tidal flats. At least 9 out of 14 tracked individual shorebirds used areas where S. alterniflora had been eradicated, with Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) demonstrating a clear preference for such habitat. The density and biomass of benthos in deeper sediments (5–20 cm below the surface) were significantly lower in areas where S. alterniflora had been eradicated than in bare tidal flats, indicating that the food resources for birds may take longer than 1 year to recover. This research demonstrates that the eradication of S. alterniflora is important for the restoration of waterbird habitats, and such efforts should be made in areas that are important to waterbirds. Arriving late and lean at a stopover site is selected against in a declining migratory bird population PENG, H. B., MA, Z., RAKHIMBERDIEV, E., VAN GILS, J. A., BATTLEY, P. F., ROGERS, D. I., CHOI, C. Y., WU, W., FENG, X. and MA, Q. Abstract: Loss and/or deterioration of refuelling habitats have caused population declines in many migratory bird species but whether this results from unequal mortality among individuals varying in migration traits remains to be shown. Based on 13 years of body mass and size data of great knots (Calidris tenuirostris) at a stopover site of the Yellow Sea, combined with resightings of individuals marked at this stopover site along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, we assessed year to year changes in annual apparent survival rates, and how apparent survival differed between migration phenotypes (i.e. migration timing and fuel stores). The measurements occurred over a period of habitat loss and/or deterioration in this flyway. We found that the annual apparent survival rates of great knots rapidly declined from 2006 to 2018, late-arriving individuals with small fuel stores exhibiting the lowest apparent survival rate. There was an advancement in mean arrival date and an increase in the mean fuel load of stopping birds over the study period. Our results suggest that late-arriving individuals with small fuel loads were selected against. Thus, habitat loss and/or deterioration at staging sites may cause changes in the composition of migratory phenotypes at the population-level. Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus) equalizes foraging costs with depth by switching foraging tactics LIU, P., LIU, M., XIAO, D., HE, Y., FAN, R., LU, C., WEN, L., ZENG, Q. and LEI, G. Abstract: Throughout evolutionary history, animals are finely tuned to adjust their behaviors corresponding to environmental variations. Behavioral flexibility represents an important component of a species' adaptive capacity in the face of rapid anthropogenetic environmental change, and knowledge of animal behaviors is increasingly recognized in conservation biology. In aquatic ecosystem, variation of water depth is a key factor affecting the availability of food; thus, the foraging behaviors of many waterbirds, especially piscivores. In this study, we compared the foraging behaviors of the Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus), an endangered migratory diving duck endemic to East Asia, in habitats with different water depths (Shallow waters: 0–40 ​cm; Deep waters: 40–300 ​cm), using video camera records obtained from the known wintering sites during three winters from 2018 to 2020. Further, the energy expenditure of foraging behavior profile and energy intake based on fish sizes were calculated to study the foraging energetics. In total, 200 effective video footages that contained 1086 ​min with 17,995 behaviors and 163 events of catching fish were recorded. Results showed that: 1) time length for fishing (including eye-submerging, head-dipping, diving and food handling) of M. squamatus in shallow waters was significantly more than in deep waters; 2) M. squamatus spent significantly more time for preparing (including vigilance, preening and swimming) in deep waters than in shallow waters; 3) the mean catch rate was 0.28 fish/min in shallow waters, which is significantly higher than the value of 0.13 fish/min in deep waters; 4) despite the distinct foraging behavior profiles and energy intakes, M. squamatus showed similar energetics in shallow and deep waters. We concluded that M. squamatus is a good example of behavioral flexibility that aligns with expectations of optimal foraging theory, in that it behaves in accordance to resource availability in different environments, resulting in high foraging efficiency. Simulation and analysis of red-crowned crane habitat suitability using maximum entropy and information entropy models GU, J., ZHANG, Y., WANG, F. and KONG, Z. Abstract: The red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) is a rare waterfowl species that is sensitive to environmental changes in its habitat selection; as such it effectively reflects the variation in wetland landscapes. Therefore, analysis of the habitat suitability for the red-crowned crane can be used to determine the species requirements and to predict its potential habitat distribution, thereby providing a basis for the protection of wetlands and endangered species. In this study, the Landsat satellite remote sensing data of Zhalong Wetland from 1996 to 2019 were used to simulate the nest coordinates of red-crowned cranes using a binary logistic model and to simulate the distribution of suitable habitat via a maximum entropy model. Moreover, an information entropy model was used to examine the yearly changes in habitat suitability and the underlying mechanisms and influencing factors. These two entropy models were combined to simulate the habitat suitability distribution and variation with high accuracy, determine the contribution rates of influencing factors, and provide data for analyzing interannual changes. The following results were obtained. First, the habitat suitability was highest in the center, core area and decreased towards the periphery of Zhalong Wetland. Second, the habitat suitability increased in some regions in the south, decreased in some areas in the north, and remained unchanged in the majority of the peripheral regions. Third, habitat suitability was primarily impacted by landscape patterns, distances to rivers and ditches, and vegetation. Red-crowned cranes preferred to reside far from human disturbance in wetlands near rivers with reeds (Phragmites australis) as the dominant species. Stimulating effects of whooper swans’ behaviors on nutrient releasing from the sediments caused by different human feeding intensities in the swan Lake, China CHEN, C., LU, Y., LIU, Y., YAO, Y., CHEN, Y. and LIU, J. Abstract: In many shallow water lakes of China, as the numbers of tourists observing waterflow increases, the amount of supplemental food provided to waterflow also increases. However, little attention has been paid to the role of waterfowl’s behavior perturbation in N and P nutrients releasing from the sediment. In this study, five feeding experiments were undertaken in the Swan Lake (Shandong Province, northern China) during the wintering season and a noticeable release of nutrients in all experiments was found by the disturbance of the swan behaviors. The release of TN and TP was through three stages including the non-release stage, the rapid release stage, and the stable release stage. Moreover, supplemental food also influenced the swan behavior changes and triggered the frequency of the swans’ grazing and aggression. The aggressive behaviors among the swans stirred nutrient (N & P) releasing from sediments and altered TN and TP concentrations in the water columns, indicating that the aggressive behaviors may be a significant factor in affecting the TN and TP releasing from the sediment. Human feeding intensity (HFI) suggested > 850 g of supplemental corn can be an optimal way to aid in avoiding foraging competition among the swans to control nutrient release by three levels of human feeding intensity assessment. Our findings demonstrate that under the swans’ optimal foraging need in natural versus artificial feeding scenarios, the swans acted as biological pumps to increase nutrient release. There is a need for a systematic and evidence-based feeding strategy for swans, with greater restrictions on the provision of small food items scattered by visitors. Our study provided novel insights into the release mechanism of N and P from bioturbation and could help to inform a whooper swan conservation strategy in coastal wetlands and nature reserves.   2) Conservation & Management Tidal Variations of Fish Larvae Measured Using a 15-Day Continuous Ichthyoplankton Survey in Subei Shoal: Management Implications for the Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis) Population in Yancheng Nature Reserve XU, M., LIU, Z., SONG, X., WANG, F., WANG, Y., YANG, L., OTAKI, T., SHEN, J., KOMATSU, T. and CHENG, J. Abstract: The National Yancheng Rare Birds Nature Reserve is a vitally important staging habitat for the wild population of red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis) in China. The population relies on local high-protein food sources, such as fish juveniles, to fuel their migratory journeys. However, little is known about the ecology of the fish larvae and juveniles that migrate to the inshore area via tidal rhythm in Subei Shoal, which is adjacent to the reserve. Therefore, we used a fixed study station (32°55′1.2″ N, 121°19′58.8″ E) to conduct a continuous 15-day ichthyoplankton survey at 2 h intervals beginning at 05:00 on 25 April and ending at 03:00 on 10 May 2019. We identified the tidal variations in the number of fish larvae and juveniles and the number at various developmental stages and assessed how they were related to environmental variables such as sea surface temperature, salinity, turbidity, and tidal height in the Dafeng Sea area of Subei Shoal. We found that the number of species and larval individuals were highest and lowest, respectively, at the highest and lowest tidal height, and they obviously increased and decreased with the rising and ebb tide, respectively. Our findings indicate that the variation in numbers of the larvae and juveniles depends on species and developmental stage. The species Acanthogobius ommaturus, Pholis fangi, Cynoglossus joyneri, Liza haematocheila, and Lateolabrax japonicus and the total number of larvae were most influenced by tidal height. These results provide a better understanding of the habitat of prey species of the red-crowned crane wild population as well as scientific data that can be applied to manage the wild population in the reserve sustainably. Conservation of Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii): Insights from the identification of critical stopover sites and migration corridors WEI, X., ZHANG, G., JI, Y., YANG, G., LI, Y., SHI, D., ZHENG, H. and PENG, J. Abstract: Migratory birds face diverse threats during migration. Critical stopover sites (CSSs) are essential refueling and resting sites for migratory birds that ensure their complete migration and survival. Therefore, identifying bird migration patterns, routes, and critical habitats is vital for conservation. From 2018–2022, we deployed satellite tracking devices on 30 Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) wintering in China to determine their migration routes. Using a dynamic Brownian bridge movement model, we identified migration corridors, core movement areas, and CSSs for Bewick’s swans. Combining protected area databases and human settlement types, we further assessed the swans’ conservation status and human impacts on CSSs. The results showed that Bewick’s swans migrated north from their wintering grounds using one of three routes (west, middle, and east), passing through Mongolia to reach the Russian Arctic (breeding grounds) in spring. They followed similar routes during autumn to return to wintering grounds. We found a new middle route within the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF) and several northward expanded wintering sites. Our study revealed similarities and differences in the spring and autumn migrations, with longer stopover durations in spring due to migration strategies and ice conditions. Moreover, our findings identified the Inner Mongolia region, the Songnen Plain, the Bohai Rim of China, and the main streams of the Lena River and the Ob River of Russia as CSSs for Bewick’s swans. However, the conservation status of the CSSs was relatively low; and the situation was more severe in spring than in autumn, only 4.3% of the total area was protected, likely due to the distribution of farmland and urban areas. Specifically, 14.3% of the CSSs in China were in urban areas during spring, while in Mongolia and Russia this figure was less than 1%. Therefore, it is necessary to balance waterbird conservation with sustainable agriculture and urban development. This research contributes to our understanding of the migratory ecology of Bewick’s swans wintering in China. The identified migration corridors and CSSs are crucial for the future conservation of swans along the EAAF. Importance of habitat heterogeneity in tidal flats to the conservation of migratory shorebirds CAI, S., MU, T., PENG, H. B., MA, Z. and WILCOVE, D. S. Abstract: Understanding species distribution patterns and what determines them is critical for effective conservation planning and management. In the case of shorebirds migrating along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), the loss of stopover habitat in the Yellow Sea region is thought to be the primary reason for the precipitous population declines. However, the rates of decline vary considerably among species, and it remains unclear how such differences could arise within a group of closely related species using apparently similar habitats at the same locales. We mapped the spatial distributions of foraging shorebirds, as well as biotic (benthic invertebrates consumed by migrating shorebirds) and abiotic (sediment characteristics) environmental factors, at a key stopover site in eastern China. Five of the six sediment characteristics showed significant spatial variation with respect to distance along the shoreline or distance from the seawall in the same tidal flat. The biomasses of four of the six most abundant benthic invertebrates were concentrated in the upper or middle zones of the tidal flat. The distribution patterns of all three focal shorebird species on the tidal flat were best explained jointly by this heterogeneity of sediment characteristics and invertebrate prey. These results suggest that the loss of tidal flats along the Yellow Sea, which is typically concentrated at the upper and middle zones, may not only reduce the overall amount of staging habitat, but also disproportionately affect the most resource-rich portions for the birds. Effective conservation of shorebird staging areas along the EAAF and likely elsewhere must consider the subtle habitat heterogeneity that characterizes these tidal flats, prioritizing the protection of those portions richest in food resources, most frequently used by focal bird species, and most vulnerable to anthropogenic threats. Identifying the wetlands of international importance in Beibu Gulf along the East Asian – Australasian Flyway, based on multiple citizen science datasets TANG, N., MA, Y., LI, S., YAN, Y., CHENG, C., LU, G., LI, F., LV, L., QIN, P. and NGUYEN, H. B. Abstract: The Beibu Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin, Vinh Bac Bo in Vietnamese), located midway along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), is a critical stopover and wintering region for migratory waterbirds. This transboundary coastal region, spanning between China and Vietnam, harbors diverse wetland habitats that provide refuge to waterbird species, including highly threatened species such as the spoon-billed sandpiper (CR) and the black-faced spoonbill (EN). However, the scarcity of comprehensive assessments regarding waterbird abundances, distribution, key wetland habitats, and regional threats hinders our understanding of its conservation significance at the flyway level. Further research is needed to address these knowledge gaps and facilitate effective conservation efforts in the Beibu Gulf. By synthesizing accessible citizen science datasets and published records from wetland sites in south China and northeast Vietnam, we concluded that at least 97 waterbird species used the Gulf’s wetlands during their annual cycle. Among surveys conducted from 2014 to 2022, 5 and 11 waterbird species were considered as first and second class protected species under the National Key Protected Wild Animal List in China; 2 species were listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, 4 as Endangered and 2 as Vulnerable, underlying the critical importance of the Beibu Gulf for the survival of these species. Our study identified 25 sites in the Beibu Gulf that met the criteria for designation as internationally important wetlands. Alarmingly, less than a quarter (n = 5, or 20%) of these sites benefit from national or international protection. Localized threats, including aquatic resource harvesting, hunting, and aquaculture/fisheries, were widespread in the region. This study provides a crucial scientific baseline for continued waterbird monitoring, site prioritization, and the development of effective habitat management plans to conserve vital coastal wetland habitats in the Beibu Gulf in China and Vietnam. Movement dynamics influence population monitoring and adaptive harvest management strategies in migratory birds VONBANK, J. A., COLLINS, D. P., ELLIS, K. S., DONNELLY, J. P. and KNETTER, J. M. Abstract: Informed population monitoring efforts are essential for sound management of harvested species, and adaptive strategies that provide detailed information to monitoring efforts often require data inputs from complimentary sources. Movement ecology information is seldom directly incorporated into population monitoring or adaptive harvest management strategies, yet can provide valuable information on species distributions, emigration and immigration rates, and aid in determining optimal population monitoring timing. The Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) of Sandhill Cranes is a harvested population subject to a stringent adaptive harvest management framework and an annual aerial survey to estimate population abundance, but movements of Sandhill Cranes during survey windows, and subsequent changes to harvest quotas based on their movement and distribution have not been investigated. We used seven years of GPS tracking data to estimate state-specific emigration and immigration rates, using a Bayesian multi-state capture-recapture model, among states within the RMP distribution to understand how seasonal crane movements may influence optimal aerial survey timing. We then leveraged these transition probabilities in conjunction with aerial survey count data to model how changes in aerial survey timing and movement-informed crane distribution would influence the current RMP Sandhill Crane adaptive harvest management model resulting in estimated changes to harvest allocation among states based on Sandhill Crane movement. We found that Sandhill Crane emigration from northern states began to increase the week of the aerial survey in late September, and continued to increase as autumn migration progressed into October. As expected, immigration to southern states began as emigration from northern states increased. Importantly, little movement among states occurred prior to the current aerial survey design timing. Overall, we found that current survey timing and shortly thereafter (∼1 week) did not greatly influence estimates of Sandhill Crane distribution, and did not greatly influence the harvest reallocation to each state until mid to late October (range of −42–+52 tag allocation change), much later than the current survey design would allow. Using GPS locations, we found that optimal population monitoring efforts could be improved to account for both detection and seasonal movements, while minimally influencing current adaptive harvest management strategies to stakeholders. Linking movement ecology with population monitoring efforts and subsequently adaptive harvest management strategies yields insightful information that can be beneficial for conservation planning, decision-making, and optimal species management of a migratory bird. Optimizing Water Level Management Strategies to Strengthen Reservoir Support for Bird’s Migration Network YI, K., MENG, F., GU, D. and MIAO, Q. Abstract: Migratory waterbirds depend on a complex network of wetlands globally for their life cycles. However, habitat loss and degradation pose risks to these networks’ sustainability, potentially impacting wetland habitat availability. This study investigates the impact of water level changes in Beijing’s Miyun Reservoir on white-naped cranes’ (Antigone vipio) habitat use. We utilized satellite imagery from 2000–2021 and monthly data from 2018–2023 to observe changes in the reservoir’s water and land areas. Additionally, the study tracked 32 cranes using GSM-GPS loggers, yielding insights into their movement patterns and habitat preferences. Our findings emphasize the significant influence of reservoir water levels on habitat availability for these cranes. Notably, our results indicate that the decrease in suitable migratory bird habitats in the reservoir is primarily attributed to high-water level management strategies. This study highlights the necessity for balanced management of aquatic and terrestrial areas in reservoir ecosystems to preserve migratory waterbird habitats. Waterfowl populations decline with nutrient reduction and increase with nutrient restoration: 20 years of adaptive management at a Ramsar-listed wastewater treatment plant LOYN, R. H., ROGERS, D. I., SWINDLEY, R. J., MENKHORST, P. W., STAMATION, K., HAYNES, S., GRAHAM, H., HEPWORTH, G. and STEELE, W. Abstract: Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are typically considered detrimental to wetland values, but waterfowl can be numerous on nutrient-rich wetlands. Waterfowl were counted three to six times per year on nine treatment lagoons and associated wetlands (2,025 ha) at the Western Treatment Plant (south-east Australia) from 2000, to help maintain ecological values of this Ramsar-listed wetland as well as treating sewage for a large city (Melbourne). Up to 185,000 waterfowl were counted, varying with season, continental rainfall and lagoon operation. Nutrient levels were reduced on Lake Borrie lagoon in 2005 (as part of an Environmental Improvement Program) and restored in 2015. Waterfowl declined on Lake Borrie lagoon from 2005 when it received treated effluent not raw sewage, and increased in 2015 when it received partially treated sewage. This pattern was highly significant for total waterfowl and most species and guilds at Lake Borrie but was not replicated on other lagoons. Modelling revealed positive relationships between waterfowl numbers and nutrient concentrations, including ammonia and nitrite, to moderate levels. This shows that with careful management nutrient enrichment can have positive benefits, allowing artificial wetlands such as wastewater treatment plants to support high densities of waterbirds and the food webs that sustain them. Impact of coastal island restoration engineering and subsequent tourism on migratory waterbirds: a 3-year case from Southern China J Liu, C Yi, S Tang, W Zhang, K Wen, C Qin, L Huang, D Liu, A Jiang Abstract: Coastal engineering poses a significant threat to the survival of migratory waterbirds worldwide. However, the mechanisms through which engineering affects waterbirds are still unclear. To gain a better understanding of this issue, we conducted a three-year survey of waterbirds on Shanxinsha Island, which underwent restoration engineering, along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. We compared the seasonal migratory change among different species groups through and after the island restoration engineering. We observed a total monthly maximum count of 118,506 individuals from 61 waterbird species over the span of 38 months, including eight globally threatened species and five species that exceeded 1% of the flyway population. Throughout the survey periods, the average number of total waterbirds and small shorebirds observed during the migrating season decreased by 52.7 and 48.6%, respectively. The massive loss of high-tide roosting areas was the primary factor contributing to this decline. The combined effects of increased vegetation and deeper water levels resulted in a 38.8% reduction in exposed tidal flat area, as determined through land cover verification and fractional vegetation cover calculations. While tourism activities exhibited fewer negative consequences compared to island restoration engineering, they had a greater impact on small breeding shorebirds. Our study showed that small shorebirds were particularly susceptible to island restoration engineering, whereas large shorebirds and swimming birds were more flexible in their use of roosting or foraging sites. We suggest that the impact of future coastal engineering requires more detailed assessment and monitoring, especially for small migratory shorebirds. Protecting China's major urban bird diversity hotspots L Li, M Yan, Y Hong, W Feng, D Xie, E Pagani-Núñez Abstract: The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework puts forward a new conservation target to enhance urban biodiversity. Cities have a great potential for sustaining biodiversity and nurturing a healthy relationship between people and our nearest nature. It is especially important in developing countries such as China, which has a rich biodiversity and a rapidly growing urban population. Using citizen science data, we show that 48% of the national bird diversity and 42% of its threatened species have been recorded in the top-20 most avian-diverse cities of China. Urban bird diversity hotspots clustered along the eastern coast, indicating the importance of establishing an inter-city conservation network along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This urban conservation network would be a starting point to promote social recognition of biodiversity's relational value in a country with a vast population and an increasingly important role in meeting UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Livelihoods and human impacts in Tan Thanh mudflat, Tien Province, Vietnam PTN Nguyen, TX Tran, TH Pham, KD Nguyen Abstract: Tan Thanh mudflat in Tien Giang Province is one of the important wetlands of the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. International conservation organizations have proposed this area to be an important bird and biodiversity area - IBAs because of the near location to the core of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway of migratory birds and providing feeding habitats for local shorebirds and endangered migratory species such as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea). To understand the threats human beings have on this proposed protected wetland, we conducted a study in August 2022 to assess the impacts of local community activities on the area. We used structured interviews with a site survey and mapping as the main methods of the study. The result showed that anthropogenic causes including agrochemical overuse, solid waste pollution, frequent disturbances from clam harvesting activities and illegal wild bird catching to protect cultivated farms, caused adverse impacts on the area. The study also revealed that the local communities have not been fully aware of the responsibility of protecting wild birds and the coastal environment. We suggested that to conserve the wetland successfully, we need to do further studies to fully understand the values of the wetland services to the wild birds and local communities and then engage relevant stakeholders to find solutions for improving public awareness about the importance of the wetland and inclusively protecting the area for sustainable development. Identifying shorebird conservation hotspots and restoration gaps in stopover sites: A perspective of 'ecologically linked' habitats Li, Xiaowei, Hou, Xiyong, Shan, Kai, Liu, Yubin, Song, Yang, Wang, Xiaoli, Du, Peipei, Fan, Chao Abstract: Shorebird populations are declining around the world, which has prompted concerns regarding tidal flat protection during migration. The lack of high-tide roosts not only can limit the access of shorebirds to tidal flats but also means that they expend more energy when moving between tidal flats and roosting sites. This situation can negatively affect their body condition. This highlights the importance of maintaining a network of tidal flats and high-tide roosts "ecologically linked" by shorebirds. Using the Yellow River Delta (YRD), a key stopover site in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), as the case study area, we assessed how the availability of optimal high-tide roosts has changed over time and identified conservation hotspots and restoration gaps from the perspective of ecological connectivity for shorebirds. Based on a developed Geographic Information System (GIS) method, combined with knowledge of shorebird roost choices from the literature and remote sensing data, we evaluated the adequacy of high-tide roosts in the YRD over 20 years (2000-2020) and identified restoration areas by scenario analysis. The results showed that 1) the mean distance between potential intertidal habitats and the nearest optimal high-tide habitat increased from 1305 m in 2000 to 2931 m in 2020, with a 30 % decline in the area of intertidal habitats suitably covered by optimal high-tide habitats for shorebirds in Group 1 (body length <= 20 cm) in the YRD; 2) the scenario analysis suggested that this gap can be eliminated by seasonal management of mariculture ponds and salt pans in key areas. This approach is likely applicable to stopover sites throughout the EAAF. Integrating suitable habitat dynamics under typical hydrological regimes as guides for the conservation and restoration of different waterbird groups Zhang, Pingyang, Zhang, Siqi, Zou, Yeai, Wu, Ting, Li, Feng, Deng, Zhengmiao, Zhang, Hong, Song, Yucheng, Xie, Yonghong Abstract: The operation of the Three Gorges Project (TGP) has influenced the wetland ecosystems downstream, thereby affecting the distribution of habitats suitable for waterbirds. However, dynamic studies on habitat distribution under different water regimes are lacking. Here, using data from three successive wintering periods representing three typical water regimes, we modelled and mapped the habitat suitability of three waterbird groups in Dongting Lake, which is the first river-connected lake downstream of the TGP, and a crucial wintering ground for waterbirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The results showed that the spatial pattern of habitat suitability varied among the wintering periods and waterbird groups. The analysis estimated the largest suitable habitat area for the herbivorous/tuber-eating group (HTG) and the insectivorous waterbird group (ING) under a normal water recession pattern, whereas early water recession had a more adverse effect. The suitable habitat area for the piscivorous/omnivorous group (POG) was higher under late water recession than under normal conditions. The ING was the most affected by hydrological changes among the three waterbird groups. Further, we identified the key conservation and potential restoration habitats. The HTG exhibited the largest key con-servation habitat area compared to the other two groups, while the ING showed a potential restoration habitat area larger than its key conservation habitat area, indicating its sensitivity to environmental changes. The optimal inundation durations from September 1 to January 20 for HTG, ING and POG were 52 & PLUSMN; 7 d, 68 & PLUSMN; 18 d, and 132 & PLUSMN; 22 d, respectively. Therefore, the water recession starting in mid-October may be favourable for waterbirds in Dongting Lake. Altogether, our results can be used as guidance for prioritising certain management actions for waterbird conservation. Moreover, our study highlighted the importance of considering habitat spatiotemporal variation in highly dynamic wetlands when implementing management practices. Prioritizing global conservation of migratory birds over their migration network Zhang Wenyuan, Wei Jie, Xu Yanjie Summary: Halting and reversing biodiversity loss is a grand challenge in the Anthropocene, which suggests an urgent need to effectively protect key areas that support species sustainability. However, large knowledge gaps exist in determining those key areas for migratory species and the extent to which they are protected, albeit with the essential and indispensable functions that migratory species perform in biodiversity conservation. Here, we used over 390 million community-contributed bird observations to derive order-specific, spatially explicit estimates of annual migration networks for 26 bird orders across the world. We found that 35% of the overall 343 important sites that strongly connect the migration network across the annual cycle of global migratory birds are uncovered by protected areas. This leads to nearly 87% of 1,862 migratory bird species being at risk. Migratory species benefit more from considering various levels of site importance to safeguard network integrity, with conservation efforts across countries. Using Nepal to understand the nexus of climate change and land-use Bhandari Medani Abstract: The nexus between land use and climate change is a critical aspect of sustainable development, and few places show this inter-relationship better than Nepal. This paper uses Nepal as an example to explore the interconnections between land use and climate change, highlighting the key challenges and opportunities. Nepal, with its diverse topography and ecosystems, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The country’s unique land use patterns, including agriculture, forest cover, and urbanization, play a significant role in shaping its climate resilience and carbon balance. This paper highlights the complex relationship between land use and climate change in such an environment. Balancing land use practices, conserving forests, and biodiversity, and promoting sustainable agriculture are essential for achieving climate resilience and sustainable development. The paper shows that only by addressing the nexus between land use and climate change, can Nepal move towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. 3) Avian Influenza /Others Ecological characterization of 175 low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses isolated from wild birds in Mongolia, 2009-2013 and 2016-2018 BARKHASBAATAR, A., GILBERT, M., FINE, A. E., SHIILEGDAMBA, E., DAMDINJAV, B., BUUVEIBAATAR, B., KHISHGEE, B., JOHNSON, C. K., LEUNG, C. Y. and ANKHANBAATAR, U. Abstract: Since 2005, highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N1 viruses have spread from Asia worldwide, infecting poultry, humans and wild birds. Subsequently, global interest in avian influenza (AI) surveillance increased. Mongolia presents an opportunity to study viruses in wild birds because the country has very low densities of domestic poultry and supports large concentrations of migratory water birds. We conducted AI surveillance in Mongolia over two time periods, 2009–2013 and 2016–2018, utilizing environmental fecal sampling. Fresh fecal samples were collected from water bird congregation sites. Hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) subtypes of positive samples were identified through viral isolation or molecular assays, with pathogenicity determined by HA subtype or sequencing the HA cleavage site. A total of 10,222 samples were collected. Of these, 7,025 fecal samples were collected from 2009 to 2013, and 3,197 fecal samples were collected from 2016 to 2018. Testing revealed 175 (1.7%) positive samples for low-pathogenicity influenza A, including 118 samples from 2009 to 2013 (1.7%) and 57 samples from 2016 to 2018 (1.8%). HA and NA subtyping of all positives identified 11 subtypes of HA and nine subtypes of NA in 29 different combinations. Within periods, viruses were detected more frequently during the fall season than in the early summer. Mongolia's critical wild bird habitat is positioned as a crossroad of multiple migratory flyways. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using an affordable environmental fecal sampling approach for AI surveillance and contributes to understanding the prevalence and ecology of low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses in this important location, where birds from multiple flyways mix. Characterization of avian influenza A (H4N2) viruses isolated from wild birds in Shanghai during 2019 to 2021 XU, Y., TANG, L., GU, X., BO, S., MING, L., MA, M., ZHAO, C., SUN, K., LIU, Y. and HE, G Abstract: The H4 subtype of avian influenza viruses has been widely distributed among wild birds. During the surveillance of the avian influenza virus in Shanghai from 2019 to 2021, a total of 4,451 samples were collected from wild birds, among which 46 H4 subtypes of avian influenza viruses were identified, accounting for 7.40% of the total positive samples. The H4 subtype viruses have a wide range of hosts, including the spot-billed duck, common teal, and other wild birds in Anseriformes. Among all H4 subtypes, the most abundant are the H4N2 viruses. To clarify the genetic characteristics of H4N2 viruses, the whole genome sequences of 20 H4N2 viruses were analyzed. Phylogenetical analysis showed that all 8 genes of these viruses belonged to the Eurasian lineage and closely clustered with low pathogenic avian influenza viruses from countries along the East Asia-Australia migratory route. However, the PB1 gene of 1 H4N2 virus (NH21920) might provide its internal gene for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 viruses in Korea and Japan. At least 10 genotypes were identified in these viruses, indicating that they underwent multiple complex recombination events. Our study has provided a better epidemiological understanding of the H4N2 viruses in wild birds. Considering the mutational potential, comprehensive surveillance of the H4N2 virus in both poultry and wild birds is imperative. Mapping emerging trends and South-South cooperation in regional knowledge networks: A bibliometric analysis of avian influenza research in Southeast Asia M Liverani, K Song, JW Rudge. Abstract: This paper maps emerging trends and South-South cooperation in regional knowledge networks through a bibliometric analysis of avian influenza research in Southeast Asia, between 2004 and 2019. The findings indicate that a substantial research output involving researchers and organisations in the region was generated. However, wide disparities between countries existed, both in terms of output and participation in the regional network, which was largely driven by non-regional actors. A more proactive involvement of institutions for regional cooperation such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would increase local ownership, sustainability and redress imbalances in the regional research system.


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  • Literature list (Jan-Jun 2023)

    1) Biology & ecology Zhu, B. R., M. A. Verhoeven, C. J. Hassell, K. K. S. Leung, D. Dorofeev, Q. Ma, K. Eiamampai, J. T. Coleman, U. Tserenbat, G. Purev-Ochir, D. V. Li, Z. W. Zhang, and T. Piersma. 2023. Predicting the non-breeding distributions of the two Asian subspecies of Black-tailed Godwit using morphological information. Avian Research 14. Maslovsky, K. S., P. N. Maleko, V. V. Pronkevich, J. C. Slaght, and A. N. Powell. 2023. First nests of Endangered Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer found in over 40 years indicate nesting plasticity. Bird Conservation International 33. Loktionov, E. Y., R. A. Digby, N. N. Yakushev, I. A. Shepelev, J. P. Clements, P. S. Tomkovich, N. S. Jarrett, N. A. Clark, R. E. Green, E. G. Lappo, and E. E. Syroechkovskiy. 2023. Evaluating the Impact of Headstarting on the Critically Endangered Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea. Diversity-Basel 15. Liu, W., X. M. Chen, T. Liang, T. Mu, Y. Z. Ding, Y. Liu, and X. S. Liu. 2023. Varying abundance of microplastics in tissues associates with different foraging strategies of coastal shorebirds in the Yellow Sea. Science of the Total Environment 866. Yu, C., R. L. Zhang, L. Z. Zhou, L. Cheng, Y. W. Bao, and Y. W. Song. 2023. Morphological characteristics influence the spatial mixing patterns of shorebirds at Shengjin Lake. Ecology and evolution 13. Liu, J., Z. Chai, H. Wang, A. Ivanov, V. Kubelka, R. Freckleton, Z. Zhang, and T. Szekely. 2023. Egg characteristics vary longitudinally in Arctic shorebirds. iScience 26:106928. Wang, Y. F., Q. Chen, L. Li, H. F. Ding, J. D. Fraser, J. J. Hou, and W. J. Wang. 2023. The cascading effects of submerged macrophyte collapse on geese at Poyang Lake, China. Freshwater Biology 68:926-939. Gilg, O., R. S. A. van Bemmelen, H. Lee, J.-Y. Park, H.-J. Kim, D.-W. Kim, W. Y. Lee, K. Sokolovskis, and D. V. Solovyeva. 2023. Flyways and migratory behaviour of the Vega gull (Larus vegae), a little-known Arctic endemic. PLoS ONE 18:e0281827. Liang, Y. Y., B. Dong, P. F. Li, K. Zhang, and X. Gao. 2023. Prediction of overwintering crane population in Poyang Lake wetland based on RS and regression Model, China. Ecological Indicators 149. Ansari, A. 2023. Prediction of Climate Change Effects on Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) Habitat Suitability by Using Ensemble Modeling in Asia Wetlands. Wetlands 43. Wang, C., G. Wang, T. Li, R. Yu, H. L. Duan, Y. Su, X. M. Wu, Q. Su, R. Lu, and G. Y. Chen. 2023. Habitat seasonal competition and coexistence of typical wetland species in the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf Natural Heritage Site. Ecological Indicators 147. Gao, M., B. Erdenechimeg, G. Purev-Ochir, A. Gungaa, and Y. M. Guo. 2023. Young, wild, and free-Subadult White-naped Crane (Antigone vipio) exhibit wider home range movements than breeding adults during the summering period. Journal of Ornithology 164:561-572. 2) Conservation & management Qu, F. Y., S. Q. Wang, W. Wang, S. H. Liu, S. Y. Li, H. D. Liu, and Z. H. Zhang. 2023. Macrobenthic community structure of Rudong coastal wetland, China: the impact of invasive Spartina alterniflora and its implication for migratory bird conservation. Wetlands Ecology and Management 31:159-168. Sun, X. P., J. M. Shen, Y. Xiao, S. Li, and M. C. Cao. 2023. Habitat suitability and potential biological corridors for waterbirds in Yancheng coastal wetland of China. Ecological Indicators 148. Lee, J.-H., I.-C. Kim, S.-W. Lee, J.-J. Son, J.-U. Jang, and H.-C. Sung. 2023. International importance of tidal flats in the Republic of Korea as shorebird stopover sites in the East Asian–Australasian flyway. Avian Conservation and Ecology 18. Xu, Z. L., B. Dong, C. Wang, X. Gao, H. F. Xu, Z. Z. Wei, Z. P. Lu, and X. Liu. 2023. Construction of international important wetland White-headed crane ecological corridor in Chongming Dongtan, China. Ecological Indicators 149. Wei, Z. Z., Z. L. Xu, B. Dong, H. F. Xu, Z. P. Lu, and X. Liu. 2023. Habitat suitability evaluation and ecological corridor construction of wintering cranes in Poyang Lake. Ecological Engineering 189. 3) Avian Influenza /Others Takekawa, J. Y., D. J. Prosser, J. D. Sullivan, S. L. Yin, X. X. Wang, G. L. Zhang, and X. M. Xiao. 2023. Potential Effects of Habitat Change on Migratory Bird Movements and Avian Influenza Transmission in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Diversity-Basel 15. Espano, E., S.-M. Shim, E.-J. Song, J.-H. Nam, S.-H. Jeong, B. T. Padasas, S.-H. Kim, and J.-K. Kim. 2023. Surveillance of avian influenza viruses from 2014 to 2018 in South Korea. Scientific Reports 13:8410. Xie, R., W. Wang, Y. Gao, W. Liu, B. Yue, S. Liu, W. Fan, S. Song, and L. Yan. 2023. Evolution and mammalian adaptation of H3 and H10 subtype avian influenza viruses in wild birds in Yancheng Wetland of China. Veterinary Microbiology 279:109669. Zhang, H., S. Y. Han, B. Wang, Y. A. Xing, G. H. Yuan, Y. Wang, Z. L. Zhao, G. J. Li, Q. Q. Li, J. C. Pan, W. C. Li, and H. X. He. 2023. Genetic Characterization and Pathogenesis of Avian Influenza Virus H3N8 Isolated from Chinese pond heron in China in 2021. Viruses-Basel 15. 1) Biology & Ecology Predicting the non-breeding distributions of the two Asian subspecies of Black-tailed Godwit using morphological information Zhu, B. R., Verhoeven, M. A., Hassell, C. J., Leung, K. K. S., Dorofeev, D., Ma, Q., Eiamampai, K., Coleman, J. T., Tserenbat, U., Purev-Ochir, G., Li, D. V., Zhang, Z. W., Piersma, T. Abstract: Until recently, Limosa limosa melanuroides was thought to be the only subspecies of Black-tailed Godwit in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. For this reason, all previous occurrences and counts of Black-tailed Godwits in the flyway have been assigned to melanuroides. However, a larger-bodied subspecies, bohaii, has recently been discovered in the flyway. As a result, the occurrence of Black-tailed Godwits in the flyway needs to be recon-sidered such that the specific distribution of each subspecies becomes known. To this end, we developed a simple discriminant function to assign individuals to subspecies based on their bill and wing length. Cross-validation with individuals known to be bohaii or melanuroides, based on molecular analysis, showed the developed func-tion to be 97.7% accurate. When applied to measurements of godwits captured at 22 sites across 9 countries in East-Southeast Asia and Australia, we found that bohaii and melanuroides occurred at most sites and overlapped in their distribution from Kamchatka to Australia. We examined photos from all along the flyway to verify this surprising result, confirming that both subspecies co-occur in most locations. Based on these results, we hypothesise that bohaii and melanuroides from the west of their breeding ranges mostly migrate over Chinese mainland. Birds of both subspecies from the east of their ranges are expected to migrate along the Pacific Ocean. We encourage ringing groups in East-Southeast Asia and Australia to use this simple method to keep adding knowledge about Black-tailed Godwits in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. First nests of Endangered Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer found in over 40 years indicate nesting plasticity Maslovsky, K. S., Maleko, P. N., Pronkevich, V. V., Slaght, J. C., Powell, A. N., Abstract: Knowledge of the breeding ecology of Endangered Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer is necessary to develop a comprehensive species-specific conservation plan. We found nine greenshank nests in Schaste Bay, Russian Far East during the summers of 2019-2021. These are the first nests found in over 40 years and the only discovered to date on mainland Russia. In contrast to previous nest descriptions, we found greenshanks do not exclusively nest in trees, but also place nests on the ground at the base of mature or sapling larches. Our results indicate greenshanks may be larch obligates during the breeding season, and protecting coastal larch forest ecosystems near bogs, meadows, and mudflats throughout the Russian Far East may be critical to the species' conservation. Evaluating the Impact of Headstarting on the Critically Endangered Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea Loktionov, E. Y., Digby, R. A., Yakushev, N. N., Shepelev, I. A., Clements, J. P., Tomkovich, P. S., Jarrett, N. S., Clark, N. A., Green, R. E., Lappo, E. G., Syroechkovskiy, E. E. Abstract: Headstarting is a conservation approach that suggests offering an advantage to a population by improving egg production, survival of embryos and/or juveniles. In this article, we are providing the quantitative data obtained during 10 years for different stages of headstarting (production of eggs per pair, hatching and fledging rates) and the resulting impact (survival to maturity, philopatry rate, sex ratio, apparent survival, growth/decline rate) on the local population of the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper. We have shown that headstarting gains are reduced over time from fledging to long-term recruitment to the local breeding population. The possible reasons for this reduction are suggested and discussed. The unexpected finding was a drastic difference in sex ratios of the new recruits, which was about even for headstarting, but strongly male-biased for wild-reared birds. We suggest this happens due to increased mortality of female chicks in nature. We have also shown only headstarting could stop the global decline of the species, particularly once the suggested improvements are implemented and the number of pairs involved is scaled up. Headstarting also had a significant social effect due to the involvement of increasing numbers of people both in the local communities in Chukotka and from many countries on the flyway into searching for marked birds and learning about waders, raising awareness about ecological problems on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Thus, it has made the need for conservation actions on the flyway more obvious and sensible. Varying abundance of microplastics in tissues associates with different foraging strategies of coastal shorebirds in the Yellow Sea Liu, W., Chen, X. M., Liang, T., Mu, T., Ding, Y. Z., Liu, Y., Liu, X. S. Abstract: With the wide application of plastic products, microplastics are now ubiquitous in coastal wetlands, representing a serious threat to the health of coastal organisms. In East Asia, millions of migratory shorebirds depend on the tidal flats of Yellow Sea in China, and they have experienced rapid populations declines due at least partially to the environmental pollution. However, our understanding about the specific exposures and hazards of microplastics, and the factors affecting the bioavailability of microplastics to different shorebird species remains limited, which hinders our ability to address the potential detrimental effects of microplastic accumulation to these fast-disappearing birds. Therefore, this study aims to assess the risk of microplastic exposure in shorebirds, determine the enrichment of microplastics in different tissues, and establish the relationship between shorebirds' foraging strategies and microplastic intake. We extracted and identified microplastics in different tissues sample from the carcasses of 13 individuals in four shore-bird species, and measure the abundance, color, size, and roughness of all microplastics found. Microplastics were found in all species except one red-necked stint (Calidris ruficollis). Polyethylene, silicone, polypropylene, and polyure-thane were the main polymers identified in shorebirds. Microplastics found in shorebirds that use mixed tactile and visual foraging strategy were smaller, less rough, and low in color diversity, compared to those found in shorebirds that forage predominately using visual cues. In addition, ingested microplastics were disproportionately enriched in different tissues; in particular, the abundance and size of microplastics in the digestive tract were significantly higher than those in the pectoral muscles. Understanding the stress of microplastics posed to coastal shorebirds is critical to facilitate more effective and targeted measurements in coastal pollution control. Morphological characteristics influence the spatial mixing patterns of shorebirds at Shengjin Lake Yu, C., Zhang, R. L., Zhou, L. Z., Cheng, L., Bao, Y. W., Song, Y. W. Abstract: SThe coexistence of species with similar ecological niches is one of the core interests of community ecology research. However, how functional feeding traits, including bill size and leg length, determine the niche of mixed flocks of shorebird species has seldomly been studied, as well as, microhabitat variables affect the spatial patterns of availability and the quality of patches for wintering. From October 2016 to March 2017 at Shengjin Lake, Anhui Province, China, we recorded 226 scan samples from the different microhabitats and 93 focal animal videos of four common shorebird species: common greenshank, spotted redshank, Kentish plover, and little ringed plover. We found that the species participating in the mixed groups were different in each microhabitat. The results of the overlap index for microhabitats and foraging techniques between the species were consistent with the morphological characteristics of these species. Kentish and little ringed plovers had the highest Pianka's niche overlap index values of 0.95 and 0.98 for microhabitats and foraging techniques, respectively, whereas common greenshank and spotted redshank had values of 0.78 and 0.89, respectively. Common greenshank and spotted redshank used four foraging techniques: a single probe (PR), multiple probes (MPR), a single peck (PE), and multiple pecks (MPE). Kentish and little ringed plovers only used PE and MPE. The mean bill size, mean leg length, and mean foraging frequency were significantly associated with water depth. The mean bill size and mean leg length were both significantly correlated with the mean foraging frequency of shorebirds. The vegetated area was the most important variable for grouping among shorebirds. We concluded that the four species showed differences in their preferred microhabitats and foraging patterns. Interspecific morphological differences, including bill and leg lengths, resulted in niche differentiation. Thus, effective resource allocation by regional species was realized, and a dynamic balance was achieved by the mixed foraging species. The information on foraging behavior and habitat requirements could be useful in the management of water levels in natural areas and conservation of a diversity of wintering shorebirds. Egg characteristics vary longitudinally in Arctic shorebirds Liu, Jin, Chai, Ziwen, Wang, Hui, Ivanov, Anton, Kubelka, Vojtech, Freckleton, Robert, Zhang, Zhengwang, Szekely, Tamas Abstract: Arctic environments are changing rapidly and if we are to understand the resilience of species to future changes, we need to investigate alterations in their life histories. Egg size and egg shape are key life-history traits, reflecting parental investment as well as influencing future reproductive success. Here we focus on egg characteristics in two Arctic shorebirds, the Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and the Temminck's stint (Calidris temminckii). Using egg photos that encompass their full breeding ranges, we show that egg characteristics exhibit significant longitudinal variations, and the variation in the monogamous species (Dunlin) is significantly greater than the polygamous species (Temminck's stint). Our finding is consistent with the recent "disperse-to-mate" hypothesis which asserts that polygamous species disperse further to find mates than monogamous species, and by doing so they create panmictic populations. Taken together, Arctic shorebirds offer excellent opportunities to understand evolutionary patterns in life history traits. The cascading effects of submerged macrophyte collapse on geese at Poyang Lake, China Wang, Y. F., Chen, Q., Li, L., Ding, H. F., Fraser, J. D., Hou, J. J., Wang, W. J. Abstract: Wetland habitat degradation has become more common in recent decades, leading to an increasing occurrence of food shortages for wild animals. Although the direct effects of food shortages on consumers have been well studied, the cascading effects on interspecific interactions remain poorly understood. Targeted research is required to improve our understanding of the impacts of food shortage on animals and to facilitate the development of conservation plans. Here, we used DNA metabarcoding and field observations of goose foraging behaviour to assess the cascading effects of collapse of tubers of Vallisneria spp., the dominant submerged macrophytes at Poyang Lake, China, on the diet of the swan goose (Anser cygnoides) and on the interspecific competition among goose species, the swan goose, the bean goose (Anser fabalis), and the greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons). The metabarcoding analyses were carried out on faecal samples collected in winter 2016/17 and 2018/19, and behavioural observations were conducted in winter 2021/22. Our study elucidated the dietary compositions of the three goose species in greater detail than previously known. When Vallisneria tubers became rare, swan geese switched their foraging focus to Carex spp. and other grassland plants. When tuber abundance rebounded, swan geese resumed tuber foraging, suggesting the superiority of tubers as food for swan geese. Swan geese foraging on Carex, the major foods of bean geese and greater white-fronted geese, potentially increased interspecific competition among goose species. Swan geese increased their pecking rates while bean geese increased time spent foraging apparently to cope with interspecific competition. Given the severe impacts of tuber collapses on waterbirds and the important role of Poyang Lake in waterbird protection, we advocate restoring submerged macrophytes to provide high quality foods for tuber-foraging waterbirds. Our study emphasises that, in addition to directly influencing consumers, food collapses may also influence other species through changes in interspecific interactions. Our study also illustrates the importance of behavioural plasticity to cope with interspecific competition and to respond to environment change. Flyways and migratory behaviour of the Vega gull (Larus vegae), a little-known Arctic endemic Gilg, Olivier, van Bemmelen, Rob S. A., Lee, Hansoo, Park, Jin-Young, Kim, Hwa-Jung, Kim, Dong-Won, Lee, Won Y., Sokolovskis, Kristaps, Solovyeva, Diana V. Abstract: Large gulls are generalist predators that play an important role in Arctic food webs. Describing the migratory patterns and phenology of these predators is essential to understanding how Arctic ecosystems function. However, from all six large Arctic gull taxa, including three long-distance migrants, to date seasonal movements have been studied only in three and with small sample sizes. To document the flyways and migratory behaviour of the Vega gull, a widespread but little-studied Siberian migrant, we monitored 28 individuals with GPS loggers over a mean period of 383 days. Birds used similar routes in spring and autumn, preferring coastal to inland or offshore routes, and travelled 4000-5500 km between their breeding (Siberia) and wintering grounds (mainly the Republic of Korea and Japan). Spring migration mainly occurred in May, and was twice as fast and more synchronized among individuals than autumn migration. Migration bouts mainly occurred during the day and twilight, but rates of travel were always higher during the few night flights. Flight altitudes were nearly always higher during migration bouts than during other bouts, and lower during twilight than during night or day. Altitudes above 2000m were recorded during migrations, when birds made non-stop inland flights over mountain ranges and vast stretches of the boreal forest. Individuals showed high inter-annual consistency in their movements in winter and summer, indicating strong site fidelity to their breeding and wintering sites. Within-individual variation was similar in spring and autumn, but between individual variation was higher in autumn than in spring. Compared to previous studies, our results suggest that the timing of spring migration in large Arctic gulls is likely constrained by snowmelt at breeding grounds, while the duration of migration windows could be related to the proportion of inland versus coastal habitats found along their flyways ('fly-and-forage' strategy). Ongoing environmental changes are hence likely in short term to alter the timing of their migration, and in long term possibly affect the duration if e.g. the resource availability along the route changes in the future. Prediction of overwintering crane population in Poyang Lake wetland based on RS and regression Model, China Liang, Y. Y., Dong, B., Li, P. F., Zhang, K., Gao, X. Abstract: Reasonable prediction of the crane population that arrives at Poyang Lake Reserve for overwintering every year is of great significance to protect cranes and to provide data about reserve planning. In this paper, considering the time-lag effect of landscape index on crane population, the Landsat satellite images of Poyang Lake wetland in 19 winter periods from 2001 to 2019 were selected. The land-use types of the images were classified by support vector machine to acquire the landscape pattern index. In addition, the Pearson test was adopted to examine the correlation between crane population dynamics and landscape pattern index during overwintering. Finally, the regression model of the crane population was obtained by multivariate linear regression analysis. The results showed that the landscape index had a delayed impact on the crane population, which was significantly correlated with the crane population in the following five years. This effect on different crane population was disparate. The number of siberian cranes and white-naped crane populations showed a downward trend, while that of hooded cranes and common crane populations showed an upward trend. Furthermore, the landscape index affects the crane population to a certain extent, but the landscape pattern has diverse effects on different crane populations. It is suggested that corresponding protection measures be taken for different crane pop-ulations to provide a better habitat for cranes in Poyang Lake. Prediction of Climate Change Effects on Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) Habitat Suitability by Using Ensemble Modeling in Asia Wetlands Ansari, A. Abstract: The Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) is the third rarest and the most endangered crane species in the world. This study aimed at predicting the effect of climate change on Siberian Crane habitat suitability of breeding range and wintering range in Asia Wetlands by using ensemble modeling under future climate scenarios before the year 2050. In this regard, we used 4 modeling methods, Surface Range Envelop (SRE), Random Forest (RF), Classification Tree Analysis (CTA) and Flexible Discriminant Analysis (FDA) to determine the relationships between the species occurrence and bioclimatic variables under the ensemble framework by using Biomod2 and R software. The results showed that the AUC values were greater than 0.9 and functioning of all models was excellent. The Temperature Seasonality and Temperature Annual Range in the breeding range and Temperature Seasonality and Mean Temperature of Coldest Quarter in the wintering range had the most important role for habitat suitability of this species and respectively 105.64% and 136.27% changes was justified in Siberian Crane habitat suitability. Under RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 climate scenario for Siberian Crane breeding and wintering range, it is possible that climate change will cause a 100% loss of suitable habitat in West Sibera, and a 25.28% loss in Iran and China by 2050. The results of this study can be used in planning and conservation of crane species. Habitat seasonal competition and coexistence of typical wetland species in the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf Natural Heritage Site Wang, C., Wang, G., Li, T., Yu, R., Duan, H. L., Su, Y., Wu, X. M., Su, Q., Lu, R., Chen, G. Y. Abstract: The Natural Heritage Site of the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China plays a prominent role in the conservation of global biodiversity. However, with the increase in the number of species inhabiting here, the problem of competition in the habitat space of species within the heritage site has gradually emerged, which has become an important bottleneck restricting the sustainable development of the heritage site. Therefore, this study selected the typical wetland wildlife in this area, red crowned crane (Grus japonensis) and Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis), as the study objects. This study used their continuous GPS tracking data to reveal the seasonal laws of habitat selection and suitability of two typical wetland species, and analyze their spatial competition and coexistence relationship. The study results showed that the distribution of home range of the crane and the deer in spring and summer was significantly larger than that in autumn and winter. The area of the sub and most suitable area of the deer in spring was larger than that of the crane. In autumn and winter, the area of the sub and most suitable areas for the deer was small, while the area of the most suitable area for the crane was more than 50 hm2. Except in spring, the two species kept a certain distance from each other in other seasons, and their habitat selection was stable. The optimal threshold range of the crane for D_ree variable was 0-202 m in spring and 0-1200 m in summer and autumn. The deer was affected by vegetation factors in the four seasons. The threshold range of D_ree variable in spring, autumn and winter was 0-80 m, the suitable vegetation height of the deer was 2.31-2.92 m. Finally, this study proposed a refined management pattern of habitat with multiple species coexist. Young, wild, and free-Subadult White-naped Crane (Antigone vipio) exhibit wider home range movements than breeding adults during the summering period Gao, M., Erdenechimeg, B., Purev-Ochir, G., Gungaa, A., Guo, Y. M. Abstract: Understanding space use and how it changes over time is critical in animal ecology. The subadult period is the transition from juvenile to adult. Adults and subadults have different biological requirements in summer, resulting in differential space use patterns. We tagged 66 White-naped Cranes (Antigone vipio) in eastern Mongolia, including 22 adults and 44 hatch-year juveniles, using GPS/GSM trackers from July to August, 2017-2019. The objectives are to characterize and compare space use, especially home ranges of adults and subadults, of White-naped Cranes and to investigate patterns in summer. We split the entire summering period into 6 stages (pre-incubation, incubation/nestling, pre-molting, molting/post-molting, post-fledging, moving to another area before autumn migration) and estimated home ranges, core areas using kernel density estimates (KDE) and minimum convex polygons (MCPs). We found that subadults exhibit wider home range movements than adults and that subadults' ranging areas (corresponding to the home range of adults) decreased from the first half to the second half of the summer. Breeding adults had the smallest home ranges, while one-year-old and two-year-old subadults had equally the largest ranging areas but which decreased significantly when subadults reached sexual maturity at three years old. Throughout the summer, the changing pattern of breeders was generally opposite to that of subadults. All subadult age groups had the largest ranging areas when breeders' home ranges were the smallest during the incubation/nestling stage. This study highlights the difference between adults and subadults and contributes to subadult ecology.   2) Conservation & Management Macrobenthic community structure of Rudong coastal wetland, China: the impact of invasive Spartina alterniflora and its implication for migratory bird conservation Qu, F. Y., Wang, S. Q., Wang, W., Liu, S. H., Li, S. Y., Liu, H. D., Zhang, Z. H., Abstract: Spartina alterniflora is an invasive plant whose effects on macrobenthic communities are still unclear. The Rudong coast has been invaded by S. alterniflora for years. The effects of S. alterniflora on the macrobenthic community structure have rarely been investigated along the Rudong coast. As the Rudong coastal wetland is an important staging site for migratory birds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, an alteration in its macrobenthic community structure may have implications for the conservation of coastal wetland birds and rare waterbirds along that flyway, since macrobenthos are a major food source for these migratory birds. We conducted a survey in the Rudong coastal wetland to compare the macrobenthic community structure and sediment properties between a S. alterniflora-invaded area and a bare mud flat. The results showed that there was no significant difference in the biomass, abundance, species number or biodiversity between the invaded area and the mud flat. However, there were significantly higher heavy metal concentrations in the invaded area, and the community structure was obviously altered. The dominant Mactra veneriformis in the bare mud flat was replaced by another surface-feeding bivalve, Laternula anatina, in the invaded area. Our study suggested that the growth stage of the plants might be an important factor when assessing the impact of S. alterniflora on the macrobenthic community structure. Short and sparse S. alterniflora plants altered the benthic environment and species composition but did not necessarily reduce the biodiversity, abundance or biomass of macrobenthos. The dominant bivalve (L. anatina) living in the sparsely vegetated area was abundant, small, and soft-shelled, which might make it a better food source for the birds than the hard-shelled bivalve (M. veneriformis). Thus, S. alterniflora cannot be simply classified as a threatening factor to the Rudong coastal wetland ecosystem, and its advantages must also be considered. Habitat suitability and potential biological corridors for waterbirds in Yancheng coastal wetland of China Sun, X. P., Shen, J. M., Xiao, Y., Li, S., Cao, M. C. Abstract: Yancheng coastal wetland, as an important part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, provided habitat for more than 200 migratory waterbirds by rest and over-winter. After it was listed as a "World Heritage List" in 2019, the protection of waterfowl habitat in Yancheng coastal wetland has attracted extensive attention from the inter-national community. As an indicator species of Yancheng coastal wetland ecosystem health, waterbirds have practical significance for the protection of Yancheng coastal wetlands. Due to the long-term impact of human activities, the waterbird habitats are facing the threat of habitat fragmentation and lose, posing a serious challenge to its survival and diversity. Based on the survey data obtained Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, and Anseriformes waterbirds during the whole years from 2017 to 2021, this paper used the Maxent software for modeling species niches and distributions, a comprehensive evaluation method based on fuzzy mathematics, and Linkage Mapper model to assess the habitat suitability distribution of waterbirds, identify protection gaps and potential biological corridors for waterbirds in Yancheng coastal wetland. The results showed that habitat suitability and anthropogenic disturbance were the decisive factors affecting habitat selection of waterbirds. The suitable habitats for Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, and Anseriformes waterbirds were 23868, 22670, and 24870 ha, respectively. The suitable habitat area of waterbirds was 121,930 ha, concentrated on the study area's central and southern coast. Sheyang estuary was identified as a vital conservation gap in the study area. Meanwhile, biological corridors of a total of 33 waterbirds were identified in the study area. The longest biological corridor was 18.78 km, and the shortest was 0.09 km. Our research can provide scientific support for Yancheng coastal wetland protection and the improvement of waterbird diversity, together with the achievements of an ecological and sustainable situation between environmental conservation and economic development. International importance of tidal flats in the Republic of Korea as shorebird stopover sites in the East Asian–Australasian flyway Lee, Ju-Hyun, Kim, In-Cheol, Lee, Si-Wan, Son, Jong-Ju, Jang, Jae-Ung, Sung, Ha-Cheol Abstract: Tidal flats along the southwestern coast of the Republic of Korea are known as internationally important habitats for migratory shorebirds in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF). Recent habitat destruction at stopover sites has caused declines in migratory shorebird populations, but the population sizes and habitat use patterns of these species remain poorly understood. We investigated the status of migratory shorebirds using tidal flats in the Republic of Korea. Using population sizes and species diversity, we identified internationally important stopover sites for shorebirds and compared the results of shorebird surveys conducted during the 2014–2015 and 2019–2020 migration period. On Korean tidal flats, 230,000–270,000 shorebirds were counted on their northward migration, and approximately 120,000 individuals were counted on their southward migration. All surveyed areas met internationally important stopover site criteria because they contained more than 0.25% of the shorebird population of one or more species (as opposed to 1% to allow for turnover). We estimated that approximately 20% of the EAAF populations of the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), and Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) used tidal flats in the Republic of Korea. Importantly, we also confirmed that the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) continued to migrate to the Republic of Korea. These results imply that Korean tidal flats still have great international importance as shorebird stopover sites. Thus, expanding the protection of internationally important stopover sites is necessary to ensure the conservation of migratory shorebirds in the EAAF. Construction of international important wetland White-headed crane ecological corridor in Chongming Dongtan, China Xu, Z. L., Dong, B., Wang, C., Gao, X., Xu, H. F., Wei, Z. Z., Lu, Z. P., Liu, X. Abstract: At the Yangtze River estuary, the Chongming Dongtan International Important Wetland is a typical estuary wetland. It is an essential habitat for international migratory birds. The habitat of birds in this area changes rapidly. The ecological corridor is an important means to maintain the stability of the watershed ecosystem and enhance the ecological sustainability of the watershed. It has significant demonstration implications for the preservation of biodiversity and the restoration of ecological functions of wetlands with significant ecological value. In this study, the rare white-headed crane distributed in Chongming Dongtan was taken as the research object, and the land use change in Chongming Dongtan in recent ten years was obtained by ENVI and ArcGIS10.8 software. The ecological sources of the white-headed crane population were screened using morphological spatial pattern analysis (MSPA) and landscape connectivity. Using GIS technology to construct a comprehensive resistance surface, combined with circuit theory, the ecological processes in heterogeneous landscapes are simulated by calculating ' resistance ' or ' current ' to identify important ecological corridors, ecological pinch points, and ecological obstacles. The results showed that the region included 24 ecological sources, 46 ecological corridors, 127 ecological pinch points, and 134 Ecological obstacle points. The habitat in the study area showed a trend of fragmentation. The high-resistance areas of Chongming Dongtan were mainly distributed in low-altitude areas with rapid urbanization and frequent human activities, such as Qiyao Town and Yuxi Village. The ecological corridors of White-headed cranes are mainly distributed in bare flat, reed beaches, grassland, and paddy fields. The optimal threshold of MSPA landscape in the study area is 500 m. At the same time, the ecological function area is optimized and divided into different levels, such as ecological core area, ecological buffer zone, ecological crisscross area, production and living area. This study constructs the ecological corridor of the White-headed crane in Chongming Dongtan from the regional wetland scale, which is helpful to optimize the suitable habitat pattern, and provide the method basis for the habitat protection and ecological network construction of regional wetland habitat. Habitat suitability evaluation and ecological corridor construction of wintering cranes in Poyang Lake Wei, Z. Z., Xu, Z. L., Dong, B., Xu, H. F., Lu, Z. P., Liu, X. Abstract: The construction of ecological corridor is of great significance in alleviating the impact of habitat fragmentation on habitat quality and maintaining the stability of regional ecosystem. Taking overwintering cranes in a typical wetland of Poyang Lake as the research object, the ecological source was screened by calculating landscape connectivity, and the resistance factor and minimum cumulative resistance model were determined by analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to construct an ecological corridor, and the habitat connectivity scheme of over-wintering cranes in a typical wetland of Poyang Lake was discussed. The results showed that: (1) The resistance surface was relatively high in the central, northern, eastern, central, western and southwestern regions of the study area, but relatively low in the eastern, northwestern and southeastern regions of the study area. (2) From 2010 to 2020, the optimal habitat changed from 104.51 km2 to 79.03 km2, and concentrated in the eastern and southern regions of the study area. The least suitable habitat changed from 59.53 km2 to 104.78 km2, and concentrated in the middle line of the study area. (3) In this study, 18 potential ecological corridors were constructed, which were mainly distributed in Fenglin Mountain, Dengjia Village and Banshan Village in the south of the study area and Wangjiadun, Desert Zhou, Houshanzhou and Laoxu Village in the east.   3) Avian Influenza /Others Potential Effects of Habitat Change on Migratory Bird Movements and Avian Influenza Transmission in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Takekawa, J. Y., Prosser, D. J., Sullivan, J. D., Yin, S. L., Wang, X. X., Zhang, G. L., Xiao, X. M. Abstract: Wild waterbirds, and especially wild waterfowl, are considered to be a reservoir for avian influenza viruses, with transmission likely occurring at the agricultural-wildlife interface. In the past few decades, avian influenza has repeatedly emerged in China along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), where extensive habitat conversion has occurred. Rapid environmental changes in the EAAF, especially distributional changes in rice paddy agriculture, have the potential to affect both the movements of wild migratory birds and the likelihood of spillover at the agricultural-wildlife interface. To begin to understand the potential implications such changes may have on waterfowl and disease transmission risk, we created dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Models (dBBMM) based on waterfowl telemetry data. We used these dBBMM models to create hypothetical scenarios that would predict likely changes in waterfowl distribution relative to recent changes in rice distribution quantified through remote sensing. Our models examined a range of responses in which increased availability of rice paddies would drive increased use by waterfowl and decreased availability would result in decreased use, predicted from empirical data. Results from our scenarios suggested that in southeast China, relatively small decreases in rice agriculture could lead to dramatic loss of stopover habitat, and in northeast China, increases in rice paddies should provide new areas that can be used by waterfowl. Finally, we explored the implications of how such scenarios of changing waterfowl distribution may affect the potential for avian influenza transmission. Our results provide advance understanding of changing disease transmission threats by incorporating real-world data that predicts differences in habitat utilization by migratory birds over time. Surveillance of avian influenza viruses from 2014 to 2018 in South Korea Espano, Erica, Shim, Sang-Mu, Song, Eun-Jung, Nam, Jeong-Hyun, Jeong, Seo-Hee, Padasas, Bill Thaddeus, Kim, Sang-Hyun, Kim, Jeong-Ki Abstract: Surveillance of influenza A viruses (IAVs) among migratory waterfowl is a first step in understanding the ecology, biology, and pathogenicity of IAVs. As part of the nationwide surveillance effort for IAVs in fowl in South Korea, we collected environmental fecal samples in different migratory bird stopover sites in South Korea during the winter seasons within November 2014 through January 2018. We collected a total of 6758 fecal samples, 75 of which were positive for IAV (1.11% positivity). Prevalence of IAVs varied per site and per year. Based on sequencing, the most prevalent hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes were H1, H6, and H5, and the most prevalent neuraminidase (NA) subtypes were N1, N3, and N2. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the genes we isolated clustered with reported isolates collected from other locations along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. All the H5 and H7 isolates collected in this study were of low pathogenicity. None of the N1 and N2 genes carried amino acid markers of resistance against NA inhibitors. The winter 2016-2017 subset were primarily borne by migratory geese (Anser spp.). These results suggest that majority of the IAVs circulating among migratory wild fowl in South Korea in 2014-2018 were of low pathogenicity. © 2023. The Author(s). Evolution and mammalian adaptation of H3 and H10 subtype avian influenza viruses in wild birds in Yancheng Wetland of China Sun, X. P., Shen, J. M., Xiao, Y., Li, S., Cao, M. C. Abstract: Yancheng coastal wetland, as an important part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, provided habitat for more than 200 migratory waterbirds by rest and over-winter. After it was listed as a "World Heritage List" in 2019, the protection of waterfowl habitat in Yancheng coastal wetland has attracted extensive attention from the inter-national community. As an indicator species of Yancheng coastal wetland ecosystem health, waterbirds have practical significance for the protection of Yancheng coastal wetlands. Due to the long-term impact of human activities, the waterbird habitats are facing the threat of habitat fragmentation and lose, posing a serious chal-lenge to its survival and diversity. Based on the survey data obtained Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, and Anser-iformes waterbirds during the whole years from 2017 to 2021, this paper used the Maxent software for modeling species niches and distributions, a comprehensive evaluation method based on fuzzy mathematics, and Linkage Mapper model to assess the habitat suitability distribution of waterbirds, identify protection gaps and potential biological corridors for waterbirds in Yancheng coastal wetland. The results showed that habitat suitability and anthropogenic disturbance were the decisive factors affecting habitat selection of waterbirds. The suitable habitats for Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, and Anseriformes waterbirds were 23868, 22670, and 24870 ha, respectively. The suitable habitat area of waterbirds was 121,930 ha, concentrated on the study area's central and southern coast. Sheyang estuary was identified as a vital conservation gap in the study area. Meanwhile, biological corridors of a total of 33 waterbirds were identified in the study area. The longest biological corridor was 18.78 km, and the shortest was 0.09 km. Our research can provide scientific support for Yancheng coastal wetland protection and the improvement of waterbird diversity, together with the achievements of an ecological and sustainable situation between environmental conservation and economic development. Genetic Characterization and Pathogenesis of Avian Influenza Virus H3N8 Isolated from Chinese pond heron in China in 2021 Zhang, H., Han, S. Y., Wang, B., Xing, Y. A., Yuan, G. H., Wang, Y., Zhao, Z. L., Li, G. J., Li, Q. Q., Pan, J. C., Li, W. C., He, H. X. Abstract: In October 2021, a wild bird-origin H3N8 influenza virus-A/Chinese pond heron/Jiangxi 5-1/2021 (H3N8)-was isolated from Chinese pond heron in China. Phylogenetic and molecular analyses were performed to characterize the genetic origin of the H3N8 strain. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that eight gene segments of this avian influenza virus H3N8 belong to Eurasian lineages. HA gene clustered with avian influenza viruses is circulating in poultry in southern China. The NA gene possibly originated from wild ducks in South Korea and has the highest homology (99.3%) with A/Wild duck/South Korea/KNU2020-104/2020 (H3N8), while other internal genes have a complex and wide range of origins. The HA cleavage site is PEKQTR down arrow GLF with one basic amino acid, Q226 and T228 at HA preferentially bind to the alpha-2,3-linked sialic acid receptor, non-deletion of the stalk region in the NA gene and no mutations at E627K and D701N of the PB2 protein, indicating that isolate A/Chinese pond heron/Jiangxi 5-1/2021 (H3N8) was a typical avian influenza with low pathogenicity. However, there are some mutations that may increase pathogenicity and transmission in mammals, such as N30D, T215A of M1 protein, and P42S of NS1 protein. In animal studies, A/Chinese pond heron/Jiangxi 5-1/2021 (H3N8) replicates inefficiently in the mouse lung and does not adapt well to the mammalian host. Overall, A/Chinese pond heron/Jiangxi 5-1/2021 (H3N8) is a novel wild bird-origin H3N8 influenza virus reassortant from influenza viruses of poultry and wild birds. This wild bird-origin avian influenza virus is associated with wild birds along the East Asian-Australasian flyway. Therefore, surveillance of avian influenza viruses in wild birds should be strengthened to assess their mutation and pandemic risk in advance.


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  • Updates of Worldwide Avian Influenza Situation by FAO/EMPRES-AH (Dec 2022 – June 2023)

    FAO/EMPRES-AH is constantly monitoring the avian influenza situation worldwide and compiles information from multiple national and international sources as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. In close collaboration with country and regional offices, the implementation of avian influenza field surveillance projects, and networks of expertise like WOAH/FAO’s OFFLU (www.offlu.org) provide access to timely information on outbreaks, surveillance findings, and genetic similarities of circulating viruses or their virological features. This information is stored in the EMPRES Global Animal Disease Information System (EMPRES-i), a database that can be accessed online at https://empres-i.apps.fao.org/. Avian Influenza in East and Southeast Asia from December 2022 to June 2023 ©EMPRES-I During the period of 3 December to 2 June 2023, six highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus subtypes (H5, H5N1, H5N2, H5N5, H5N6, and H5N8) and five low pathogenic avian influenzas (LPAI) virus subtypes (H3N8, H5N2, H7N7, H7N3, and H9N2) have been reported detected in Eastern and South-eastern Asia. H5Nx HPAI viruses continue to circulate in Eastern and South-eastern Asia and reported detections increased since the last report. Within the reporting period, HPAI outbreaks occurred in Cambodia which reported an H5N1 detection in an unspecified wild bird in Prey Veng province caused by the clade 2.3.2.1c. Japan reported HPAI H5, H5N1, and H5N8 affecting numerous species of captive and wild birds including Crane, Crow, Swan, Goshawk, Mallard, Flacon, Eagle, Heron, Buzzard, Owl, Spoonbill, Scaup, Goose, Duck, and Jay as well as outbreaks in poultry caused by H5N1 and H5N2 subtypes leading to the culling of over 14 million birds in 32 provinces. In the Republic of Korea, there were reports of 70 H5N1 outbreaks of clade 2.3.4.4b which affected nearly 4 million domestic poultry in the regions of Chollanam-do, Chungcheongnam-do, Chungchongbuk-do, Gangwon-do, Gyeonggi-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Jeollabuk-do, Jeollanam-do, Kyongsangnam-do, Kyonggi-do and Kyongsangbuk-do. Indonesia reported one poultry outbreak caused by the H5N1 clade 2.3.4.4b in Kalimantan Selatan affecting 4430 ducks. Clade 2.3.2.1e viruses have been detected in West Java, Central Java, and Lampung Riau provinces. Viet Nam officially reported nine poultry outbreaks in Cao Bang, Dong Nam, Nghe An, Ninh Binh Quand Ngai, and Quang Ninh provinces affecting 4192 out of 4200 ducks and unspecified birds In China, Taiwan Province reported 66 poultry outbreaks caused by H5Nx, H5N1, H5N2, and H5N5 subtypes that lead to the destruction of over 1 million domestic poultry. Wild birds were affected by the H5, H5N1 subtypes affecting Eurasian teal, Black-faced spoonbill, Gull-billed tern, and Whiskered terns. One H5N1 HPAI detection was reported in Hong Kong SAR, China in Black-faced spoonbill. Outbreaks in poultry caused by low pathogenic subtypes included H9N2 reported in Taiwan, the Province of China, and the H7N7 and H7N3 low pathogenic subtypes were detected in environmental samples.   In addition to outbreaks in avian species: A(H5N1) was reported in a fox in Japan in April 2023. In the last update, Viet Nam reported one influenza A(H5) human infection in a 5-year-old female who had exposure to backyard poultry and ducks; the subtype has now been confirmed as A(H5N1). Since the last update A(H3N8) has been reported in Guangdong Provence in China in a 56-year-old female and A(H5N6) in a 49-year-old male. Two clades 2.3.2.1c A(H5N1) cases were reported in Cambodia in an 11-year-old girl (fatal) and her father (mild illness). In Anhui province, one clade 2.3.4.4b A(H5N1) human infection was reported in a 53-year-old female. 5 human cases of A(H9N2) were reported in children in the Hunan (3), Jiangxi (1) and Sichuan (1) provinces. Most of these cases reported exposure to backyard poultry and any human-to-human transmission has been ruled out. Since 2014 (as of 3 June 2023), there have been 83 human cases of influenza A(H5N6) have been reported, 82 occurring in China and one in Lao People's Democratic Republic with the most recent case reported on 2 February 2023 with an onset of disease on 17 December 2022 in China. Both the clade 2.3.2.1c and the clade 2.3.4.4b A(H5N1) have caused disease in humans since 2020. The most recent reports of each had an onset of 23 February 2023 and 31 January 2023 respectively. To date 116 influenza A(H9N2) human cases have been reported worldwide with at least 96 cases reported in China since December 2015. The most recent case was reported on 9 March 2023 with an onset date of 5 February 2023 in China. Highly pathogenic Goose/Guangdong lineage clade 2.3.4.4b H5Nx viruses have demonstrated the ability to spread long distances via migratory water birds. These viruses are continuing to infect an increasing range of wild bird species. This has led to an increase in infections reported in mammalian species which often display neurological symptoms. Globally the impacts on ecologically important birds, such as seabirds have been increasingly noted and are implicated in spread. Asia has experienced repeated incursions of the virus from multiple directions as well as circulation. We expect avian influenza activity to maintain in Asia. Reports of outbreaks in poultry, detections in wild birds and occasional detections in mammalian species are expected to continue in the region over the coming months. Please click [here] to view a larger version of the table above


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  • Literature list (Jul-Dec 2022)

    1) Biology & Ecology Murray, N. J., T. A. Worthington, P. Bunting, S. Duce, V. Hagger, C. E. Lovelock, R. Lucas, M. I. Saunders, M. Sheaves, M. Spalding, N. J. Waltham, and M. B. Lyons. 2022. High-resolution mapping of losses and gains of Earth's tidal wetlands. Science 376:744-749. Kuang, F. L., W. Wu, D. V. Li, C. J. Hassell, G. Maglio, K. S. K. Leung, J. T. Coleman, C. Y. Cheng, P. S. Tomkovich, and Z. J. Ma. 2022. Detecting the non-breeding region and migration route of Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus rogachevae) in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Avian Research 13. Lagasse, B. J., R. B. Lanctot, S. Brown, A. G. Dondua, S. Kendall, C. J. Latty, J. R. Liebezeit, E. Y. Loktionov, K. S. Maslovsky, A. I. Matsyna, E. L. Matsyna, R. L. McGuire, D. C. Payer, S. T. Saalfeld, J. C. Slaght, D. V. Solovyeva, P. S. Tomkovich, O. P. Valchuk, and M. B. Wunder. 2022. Migratory network reveals unique spatial-temporal migration dynamics of Dunlin subspecies along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. PLoS ONE 17. Nicol, S., M. J. Cros, N. Peyrard, R. Sabbadin, R. Trepos, R. A. Fuller, and B. K. Woodworth. FlywayNet: A hidden semi-Markov model for inferring the structure of migratory bird networks from count data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. Zhu, B. R., M. A. Verhoeven, N. Velasco, L. Sanchez-Aguilar, Z. W. Zhang, and T. Piersma. 2022. Current breeding distributions and predicted range shifts under climate change in two subspecies of Black-tailed Godwits in Asia. Global Change Biology 28:5416-5426. Joo, S., Y. S. Choi, and S. Y. Lee. 2022. Home Range and Habitat Use of the Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides 1758) during Wintering in the Seocheon Tidal Flat, South Korea, Using GPS-Based Telemetry. Animals 12. Du, F., S. Y. Wang, Z. Han, X. B. Liu, C. Liu, A. P. Huang, K. Q. Chen, S. L. Zhao, L. Wang, and Z. Jiang. 2022. Impact of hydrological processes on wetland landscapes and wintering migratory birds in a large floodplain lake (Poyang Lake, China). Ecohydrology 15. Jang, M., W. J. Shim, G. M. Han, S. Y. Ha, Y. Cho, M. Kim, and S. H. Hong. 2022. Spatial distribution and temporal trends of classical and emerging persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in black-tailed gull (Larus crassirostris) eggs from Korea. Science of the Total Environment 845. Hansen, B. D., D. I. Rogers, D. Watkins, D. R. Weller, R. S. Clemens, M. Newman, E. J. Woehler, T. Mundkur, and R. A. Fuller. 2022. Generating population estimates for migratory shorebird species in the world’s largest flyway. Ibis 164:735-749. 2) Conservation & management Shi, X., C. Hu, J. Soderholm, J. Chapman, H. F. Mao, K. Cui, Z. J. Ma, D. L. Wu, and R. A. Fuller. Prospects for monitoring bird migration along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway using weather radar. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. Duan, H. L., and X. B. Yu. 2022. Linking landscape characteristics to shorebird habitat quality changes in a key stopover site along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway migratory route. Ecological Indicators 144. Xu, H. F., B. Dong, X. Gao, Z. L. Xu, C. Q. Ren, L. Fang, Z. Z. Wei, X. Liu, and Z. P. Lu. Habitat quality assessment of wintering migratory birds in Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve based on InVEST model. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. Shumway, N., M. I. Saunders, S. Nicol, R. A. Fuller, N. Ben-Moshe, T. Iwamura, S. W. Kim, N. J. Murray, J. E. M. Watson, and M. Maron. 2022. Exploring the risks and benefits of flexibility in biodiversity offset location in a case study of migratory shorebirds. Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology:e14031. La Sorte, F. A., M. F. J. Aronson, C. A. Lepczyk, and K. G. Horton. 2022. Assessing the combined threats of artificial light at night and air pollution for the world's nocturnally migrating birds. Global Ecology and Biogeography 31:912-924. Yang, Y. W., F. F. Sun, K. Liu, J. F. Chen, T. Zheng, and M. Z. Tang. 2022. Influence of heavy metals on Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) reproduction in the Yellow River Estuary: risk assessment and bioaccumulation. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 29:82379-82389. Mukherjee, A., S. Pal, P. Das, and S. K. Mukhopadhyay. 2022. Heavy metal exposure to a migratory waterfowl, Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), in two peri-urban wetlands. The Science of the total environment 851:158238. Yang, X. T., Z. Z. Duan, S. S. Li, C. X. Zhang, M. Qu, G. D. Hua, X. A. Niu, H. J. Hu, and D. M. Yu. 2022. Factors Driving the Abundance of Wintering Waterbirds in Coastal Areas of Guangdong Province, China. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9. Moores, N., H. Jung, H.-J. Kim, B.-Y. Hwang, W.-H. Hur, and A. Borzée. 2022. The Hwaseong Wetlands Reclamation Area and Tidal Flats, Republic of Korea: A Case of Waterbird Conservation in the Yellow Sea. Conservation 2:526-549. 3) Avian Influenza /Others Yin, S. L., Y. J. Xu, M. S. Xu, M. C. M. de Jong, M. R. S. Huisman, A. Contina, H. H. T. Prins, Z. Y. X. Huang, and W. F. de Boer. 2022. Habitat loss exacerbates pathogen spread: An Agent-based model of avian influenza infection in migratory waterfowl. PLoS Computational Biology 18. Yao, Z. Z., H. B. Zheng, J. S. Xiong, L. P. Ma, R. Gui, G. L. Zhu, Y. Li, G. X. Yang, G. Chen, J. Zhang, and Q. J. Chen. Genetic and Pathogenic Characterization of Avian Influenza Virus in Migratory Birds between 2015 and 2019 in Central China. Microbiology Spectrum. 1) Biology & Ecology High-resolution mapping of losses and gains of Earth’s tidal wetlands Murray, Nicholas J.; Worthington, Thomas A.; Bunting, Pete; Duce, Stephanie; Hagger, Valerie; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Lucas, Richard; Saunders, Megan I.; Sheaves, Marcus; Spalding, Mark; Waltham, Nathan J.; Lyons, Mitchell B. Abstract: Tidal wetlands are expected to respond dynamically to global environmental change, but the extent to which wetland losses have been offset by gains remains poorly understood. We developed a global analysis of satellite data to simultaneously monitor change in three highly interconnected intertidal ecosystem types—tidal flats, tidal marshes, and mangroves—from 1999 to 2019. Globally, 13,700 square kilometers of tidal wetlands have been lost, but these have been substantially offset by gains of 9700 km2, leading to a net change of −4000 km2 over two decades. We found that 27% of these losses and gains were associated with direct human activities such as conversion to agriculture and restoration of lost wetlands. All other changes were attributed to indirect drivers, including the effects of coastal processes and climate change. Detecting the non-breeding region and migration route of Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus rogachevae) in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Fenliang Kuang, Wei Wu, David Li, Chris J. Hassell, Grace Maglio, Kar-Sin K. Leung, Jonathan T. Coleman, Chuyu Cheng, Pavel S. Tomkovich, Zhijun Ma Abstract: Determining the migration routes and connections of migratory birds at the population level helps clarify intraspecific differences in migration. Five subspecies have been recognized in the Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) in Eurasia. Ssp. rogachevae is the most recently described subspecies. It breeds in Central Siberia, while its non-breeding region and migration routes are still unclear. We tracked the migration of Eurasian Whimbrels captured at three non-breeding sites (Moreton Bay in east coast of Australia, Roebuck Bay in Northwest Australia and Sungei Buloh Wetland in Singapore) and two migration stopover sites (Chongming Dongtan and Mai Po Wetland in China). We determined the breeding sites and inferred the subspecies of the tagged birds in the East Asian - Australasian Flyway (EAAF) based on the known breeding distribution of each subspecies. Of the 30 tagged birds, 6 and 21 birds bred in the breeding range of ssp. rogachevae and variegates, respectively; one bred in the presumed transition area between the breeding range of ssp. phaeopus and rogachevae, and two bred in the region between the breeding range of ssp. rogachevae and variegates. The birds that bred in the ssp. rogachevae breeding range spent their non-breeding season in the northern Sumatra, Singapore, East Java and Northwest Australia and mainly stopped over along China's coasts during migration. None of our birds bred in the exclusive breeding range of the phaeopus subspecies. Previous studies have predicted that rogachevae whimbrels migrate along the Central Asian Flyway and spend the non-breeding season in West India and East Africa. We found that at least some rogachevae whimbrels migrate along the EAAF and spend the non-breeding season in Southeast Asia and Australia. The ssp. phaeopus is at best sparsely distributed in the EAAF in the west region, or possibly does not occur at all. Migratory network reveals unique spatial-temporal migration dynamics of Dunlin subspecies along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Benjamin J. Lagasse, Richard B. Lanctot, Stephen Brown, Alexei G. Dondua, Steve Kendall, Christopher J. Latty, Joseph R. Liebezeit, Egor Y. Loktionov, Konstantin S. Maslovsky, Alexander I. Matsyna, Ekaterina L. Matsyna, Rebecca L. McGuire10, David C. Payer, Sarah T. Saalfeld, Jonathan C. Slaght, Diana V. Solovyeva, Pavel S. Tomkovich, Olga P. Valchuk, Michael B. Wunder Abstract: Determining the dynamics of where and when individuals occur is necessary to understand population declines and identify critical areas for populations of conservation concern. However, there are few examples where a spatially and temporally explicit model has been used to evaluate the migratory dynamics of a bird population across its entire annual cycle. We used geolocator-derived migration tracks of 84 Dunlin (Calidris alpina) on the East Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF) to construct a migratory network describing annual subspecies-specific migration patterns in space and time. We found that Dunlin subspecies exhibited unique patterns of spatial and temporal flyway use. Spatially, C. a. arcticola predominated in regions along the eastern edge of the flyway (e.g., western Alaska and central Japan), whereas C. a. sakhalina predominated in regions along the western edge of the flyway (e.g., N China and inland China). No individual Dunlin that wintered in Japan also wintered in the Yellow Sea, China seas, or inland China, and vice-versa. However, similar proportions of the 4 subspecies used many of the same regions at the center of the flyway (e.g., N Sakhalin Island and the Yellow Sea). Temporally, Dunlin subspecies staggered their south migrations and exhibited little temporal overlap among subspecies within shared migration regions. In contrast, Dunlin subspecies migrated simultaneously during north migration. South migration was also characterized by individuals stopping more often and for more days than during north migration. Taken together, these spatial-temporal migration dynamics indicate Dunlin subspecies may be differentially affected by regional habitat change and population declines according to where and when they occur. We suggest that the migration dynamics presented here are useful for guiding on-the-ground survey efforts to quantify subspecies' use of specific sites, and to estimate subspecies' population sizes and long-term trends. Such studies would significantly advance our understanding of Dunlin space-time dynamics and the coordination of Dunlin conservation actions across the EAAF. FlywayNet: A hidden semi-Markov model for inferring the structure of migratory bird networks from count data Sam Nicol, Marie-Josée Cros, Nathalie Peyrard, Régis Sabbadin, Ronan Trépos, Richard A Fuller, Bradley K Woodworth Abstract: Every year, millions of birds migrate between breeding and nonbreeding habitat, but the relative numbers of animals moving between sites are difficult to observe directly. Here we propose FlywayNet, a discrete network model based on observed count data, to determine the most likely migration links between regions using statistical modelling and efficient inference tools. Our approach advances on previous studies by accounting for noisy observations and flexible stopover durations by modelling using interacting hidden semi-Markov Models. In FlywayNet, individual birds sojourn in stopover nodes for a period of time before moving to other nodes with an unknown probability that we aim to estimate. Exact estimation using existing approaches is not possible, so we designed customised versions of the Monte Carlo expectation-maximisation and approximate Bayesian computation algorithms for our model. We compare the efficiency and quality of estimation of these approaches on synthetic data and an applied case study. Our algorithms performed well on benchmark problems, with low absolute error and strong correlation between estimated and known parameters. On a case study using citizen science count data of the Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), an endangered shorebird from the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the ABC and MCEM algorithms generated contrasting recommendations due to a difference in optimisation criteria and noise in the data. For ABC, we recovered key features of population-level movements predicted by experts despite the challenges of noisy unstructured data. Understanding connectivity places local conservation efforts and threat mitigation in the global context, yet it has proven difficult to rigorously quantify connectivity at the population level. Our approach provides a flexible framework to infer the structure of migratory networks in birds and other organisms. Current breeding distributions and predicted range shifts under climate change in two subspecies of Black-tailed Godwits in Asia Zhu, Bing-Run; Verhoeven, Mo; Velasco Saragoni, Nicolás; Sanchez Aguilar, Lisa; Zhang, Zhengwang; Piersma, Theunis Abstract: Habitat loss and shifts associated with climate change threaten global biodiversity, with impacts likely to be most pronounced at high latitudes. With the disappearance of the tundra breeding habitats, migratory shorebirds that breed at these high latitudes are likely to be even more vulnerable to climate change than those in temperate regions. We examined this idea using new distributional information on two subspecies of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa in Asia: the northerly, bog-breeding L. l. bohaii and the more southerly, steppe-breeding L. l. melanuroides. Based on breeding locations of tagged and molecularly assayed birds, we modelled the current breeding distributions of the two subspecies with species distribution models, tested those models for robustness and then used them to predict climatically suitable breeding ranges in 2070 according to bioclimatic variables and different climate change scenarios. Our models were robust and showed that climate change is expected to push bohaii into the northern rim of the Eurasian continent. Melanuroides is also expected to shift northward, stopping in the Yablonovyy and Stanovoy Ranges, and breeding elevation is expected to increase. Climatically suitable breeding habitat ranges would shrink to 16% and 11% of the currently estimated ranges of bohaii and melanuroides, respectively. Overall, this study provides the first predictions for the future distributions of two little-known Black-tailed Godwit subspecies and highlights the importance of factoring in shifts in bird distribution when designing climate-proof conservation strategies. Home Range and Habitat Use of the Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides L. 1758) during Wintering in the Seocheon Tidal Flat, South Korea, Using GPS-Based Telemetry Joo, Sungbae; Choi, Yu-Seong; Lee, Sang-Yeon Abstract: Simple Summary Due to the rapid environmental changes in the Seocheon Tidal Flat, South Korea, important staging and wintering sites of the vulnerable Far East Russin population of Swan Goose are threatened. To provide practical information for establishing protection strategies based on Swan Goose behavioral characteristics, we estimated core home range and habitat use patterns over time at the Seocheon Tidal Flat during wintering. Based on the GPS tracking data, the core home range and habitat use characteristics of the Swan Goose differed significantly between daytime and nighttime (Day: 59.9 km(2), Night: 40.3 km(2), on average, 100% MCP). In addition, our data indicated that Swan Goose has two important overnight resting areas in the Seocheon Tidal Flat, South Korea, namely the Janggu Bay and sand dune areas in Yubu Island. The Seocheon Tidal Flat is an important staging and wintering site for the Far East Russian population of Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. However, rapid environmental changes for tourism in this area can threaten the survival of this vulnerable population by hindering sufficient rest and wintering; therefore, establishing protection strategies based on Swan Goose behavioral characteristics is necessary. Here, we estimated Swan Goose core home ranges and habitat use based on GPS tracking data collected at the Seocheon Tidal Flat in South Korea from 2017-2018. The home range of Swan Geese was estimated to be an area from Yubu Island in the south to Janggu Bay in the north; however, the core home range and habitat use characteristics differed significantly between daytime and nighttime (Day: 59.9 km(2), Night: 40.3 km(2), on average, 100% MCP). During the day (08:00-18:00), Swan Geese mostly spent time resting or feeding on tidal flats, especially those around tidal channels or paddy fields near Janggu Bay, whereas they mostly rested on sand dunes near Yubu Island along with the mudflats at Janggu Bay at night. Our results provide practical information on the habitat use of wintering Swan Geese population over time and indicate that Yubu Island is an important resting place. Hence, these results can contribute to evaluating threats to Swan Geese and establishing management and protection strategies for the Seocheon Tidal Flat, a major wintering site for the Far East Russian population of Swan Geese. Impact of hydrological processes on wetland landscapes and wintering migratory birds in a large floodplain lake (Poyang Lake, China) Fei Du, Shiyan Wang, Zhen Han, Xiaobo Liu, Chang Liu, Aiping Huang, Kaiqi Chen, Shilin Zhao, Liang Wang, Zhi Jiang Abstract: Hydrological processes are an important factor influencing the wetland landscapes and the quality of wintering migratory birds habitat in Poyang Lake. However, most of the research on a small spatiotemporal scale and there is a lack of studies on the impact of hydrological processes on migratory bird habitats. This study analysed the response of the Poyang Lake wetland landscape to low water levels from 1990 to 2016 and determined the relationship between hydrological processes, wetland landscape characteristics and migratory bird habitats. According to the results, the number of days during the study period when the maximum water level was higher than the current water level (MaxDay) and the average water level from the 40th to 50th day prior to the current day (D50) are two critical factors affecting the area of grassland in Poyang Lake. In particular, a D50 value of 9.5-11.0 m is important for maintaining the grassland area and growth of wetland vegetation. Besides, the water level should not exceed 11 m from mid-late October to early November and should be maintained between 7.58 and 7.97 m in mid-late December that can maximize the habitat area of migratory birds. Furthermore, this study used ecological threshold to propose the optimal inundation period of Cyperus rotundus L. community, Leersia japonica community, Polygonum criopolitanum community, Phragmites australis community, Triarrhena lutarioriparia community, Carex spp. community and Phalaris arundinacea community, which are 124-174, 31-101, 199-249, 65-147, 51-121, 110-190 and 175-253 days, respectively. Spatial distribution and temporal trends of classical and emerging persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in black-tailed gull (Larus crassirostris) eggs from Korea Mi Jang, Won Joon Shim, Gi Myung Han, Sung Yong Ha, Youna Cho, Miran Kim, Sang Hee Hong Abstract: This study monitored the spatiotemporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) contamination along the Korean coasts using eggs of the black-tailed gull, a resident bird that occupies a high trophic position in the marine food web. Black-tailed gull eggs were collected from three breeding islands located in the western (Seoman-do), southern (Hong-do), and eastern (Dok-do) seas of Korea during 2015-2019, and egg contents were analyzed for classical and emerging POPs. Among the target analytes, levels of emerging POPs such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) were significantly higher in eggs from Seoman-do than other islands. Global positioning system tracking data show that seagulls from Seoman-do traveled frequently to two neighboring major cities (Incheon and Seoul), indicating that the accumulation of BFRs and PFAAs in bird eggs is directly affected by the pollution characteristics of urban areas. Overall, the ratios of PFAA and BFR to the total POPs in eggs from the islands increased over time, while the proportion of classical POPs decreased. A shift from classical POPs to BFRs and PFAAs in seagull eggs was identified. Interestingly, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which exhibits limited bioaccumulation, was detected at higher levels in eggs from Seoman-do, indicating widespread use of PFOA and maternal transfer to seabird eggs. Continuous monitoring of PFAAs in marine environments of Korea is needed. This study demonstrates that monitoring of seabird eggs is effective for detecting spatial and temporal trends of POPs in the marine environment, and provides insights into emerging POPs such as PFAAs. Generating population estimates for migratory shorebird species in the world’s largest flyway Birgita D. Hansen, Danny I. Rogers, Doug Watkins, Dan R. Weller, Robert S. Clemens, Mike Newman, Eric J. Woehler, Taej Mundkur, Richard A. Fuller Abstract: Population estimates are widely used to underpin conservation decisions. However, determining accurate population estimates for migratory species is especially challenging, as they are often widespread and it is rarely possible to survey them throughout their full distribution. In the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF), this problem is compounded by its size (85 million square kilometres) and the number of migratory species it supports (nearly 500). Here, we provide analytical approaches for addressing this problem, presenting a revision of the EAAF population estimates for 37 migratory shorebird species protected under Australian national environmental legislation. Population estimates were generated by (1) summarizing existing count data in the non-breeding range, (2) spatially extrapolating across uncounted areas, and (3) modelling abundance on the basis of estimates of breeding range and density. Expert review was used to adjust modelled estimates, particularly in under-counted areas. There were many gaps in shorebird monitoring data, necessitating substantial use of extrapolation and expert review, the extent of which varied among species. Spatial extrapolation to under-counted areas often produced estimates that were much higher than the observed data, and expert review was used to cross-check and adjust these where necessary. Estimates of population size obtained through analyses of breeding ranges and density indicated that 18 species were poorly represented by counts in the non-breeding season. It was difficult to determine independently the robustness of these estimates, but these breeding ground estimates were considered the best available data for 10 species that mostly use poorly surveyed freshwater or pelagic habitats in the non-breeding season. We discuss the rationale and limitations of these approaches to population estimation, and how they could be modified for other applications. Data available for population estimates will vary in quality and extent among species, regions and migration stage, and approaches need to be flexible enough to provide useful information for conservation policy and planning.   2) Conservation & Management Prospects for monitoring bird migration along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway using weather radar Xu Shi, Cheng Hu, Joshua Soderholm, Jason Chapman, Huafeng Mao, Kai Cui, Zhijun Ma, Dongli Wu, Richard A. Fuller Abstract: Each year, billions of birds migrate across the globe, and interpretation of weather radar signals is increasingly being used to document the spatial and temporal migration patterns in Europe and America. Such approaches are yet to be applied in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), one of the most species-rich and threatened flyways in the world. Logistical challenges limit direct on-ground monitoring of migratory birds in many parts of the EAAF, resulting in knowledge gaps on population status and site use that limit evidence-based conservation planning. Weather radar data have great potential for achieving comprehensive migratory bird monitoring along the EAAF. In this study, we discuss the feasibility and challenges of using weather radar to complement on-ground bird migration surveys in the flyway. We summarize the location, capacity and data availability of weather radars across EAAF countries, as well as the spatial coverage of the radars with respect to migrants' geographic distribution and migration hotspots along the flyway, with an exemplar analysis of biological movement patterns extracted from Chinese weather radars. There are more than 430 weather radars in EAAF countries, covering on average half of bird species' passage and non-breeding distributions, as well as 70% of internationally important sites for migratory shorebirds. We conclude that the weather radar network could be a powerful resource for monitoring bird movements over the full annual cycle throughout much of the EAAF, providing estimates of migration traffic rates, site use, and long-term population trends, especially in remote and less-surveyed regions. Analyses of weather radar data would complement existing ornithological surveys and help understand the past and present status of the avian community in a highly threatened flyway. Linking landscape characteristics to shorebird habitat quality changes in a key stopover site along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway migratory route Houlang Duan, Xiubo Yu Abstract: The area and quality of shorebird stopover habitat along the key East Asian-Australasian Flyway migratory route has decreased. The cause is not fully understood. We apply an InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs) model to examine shorebird habitat quality between 1975 and 2020 in the Yellow River Delta (YRD), and link landscape characteristics to habitat quality. Mean habitat quality declined from 0.42 to 0.20, areas of high habitat quality declined by 31.75%, and those of low and medium quality increased by 18.67% and 12.98%, respectively. Increased percentages of landscape (PLAND) and largest patch index (LPI) for city, industrial mining, reservoir/pond, and mariculture land-usage categories, and decreased PLAND and LPI for coastal wetlands significantly contribute to decreased mean habitat quality. Increased mean patch area (AREA_MN) and area-weighted mean patch fractal dimension (FRAC_AM) for city and reservoir/pond also greatly contribute to habitat quality decrease. For Spartina alterniflora, increased PLAND, LPI, number of patches (NP), AREA_MN, FRAC_AM and aggregation index (AI) contribute to reduced mean habitat quality. In the Shandong YRD National Nature Reserve, the impact of increased S. alterniflora invasion on shorebird habitat quality is greater than that of other forms of land use. In contrast, in Non-Reserve, the increased area of degraded land poses a greater threat to habitat quality than other factors. Managing S. alterniflora in Reserve, and reducing human activity in Non-Reserve, is required to curtail further decreases in habitat quality. Habitat quality assessment of wintering migratory birds in Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve based on InVEST model Haifeng Xu, Bin Dong, Xiang Gao, Zhili Xu, Chunqiu Ren, Lei Fang, Zezhu Wei, Xiao Liu & Zhipeng Lu Abstract: Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve (PLNNR) is an important resting place for wintering migratory birds on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). In recent years, due to human activities and climate change, the area of wetlands has shown a downward trend, and the number and habitat of wintering migratory birds have been threatened. It is urgent to evaluate the habitat quality of wintering migratory birds in PLNNR. Therefore, the InVEST model and landscape index were used to evaluate the habitat quality of wintering migratory birds, and the grey correlation theory was used to reveal the response of typical wintering migratory bird population to habitat quality. The results showed that the habitat quality of the PLNNR was still at a high level, but showed a downward trend, with the average index of habitat quality decreasing from 0.872 to 0.817. The area of the highest quality habitat decreased by 3394.92 hm(2), the area of the lowest, low, and medium quality habitats increased by 3112.11 hm(2), and the area of the high quality habitat remained stable. The lowest, low, and medium quality habitat expanded from the middle to the south of the PLNNR mainly because of the expansion of construction land and cultivated land. The area with deterioration in habitat quality was 10,477.53 hm(2), mainly concentrated in the center and south of the PLNNR. The area with restoration in habitat quality was 6148.26 hm(2), mainly concentrated in the Bang Lake and Dacha Lake. The area with no change in habitat quality remained stable. The fragmentation degree and shape complexity of highest and high quality habitats increased, dominance degree and connectivity decreased, and the landscape pattern of habitat quality showed a downward trend. Typical wintering migratory birds have a strong correlation with highest, high, and low habitat quality, and there is a downward trend with the deterioration of habitat quality. Finally, this paper puts forward constructive suggestions on the degradation of habitat quality caused by land-use change. Exploring the risks and benefits of flexibility in biodiversity offset location in a case study of migratory shorebirds Nicole Shumway, Megan I Saunders, Sam Nicol, Richard A Fulle, Noam Ben-Moshe, Takuya Iwamura, Sun W Kim, Nicholas J Murray, James E M Watson, Martine Maron Abstract: Biodiversity offsets aim to counterbalance the residual impacts of development on species and ecosystems. Guidance documents explicitly recommend that biodiversity offset actions be located close to the location of impact because of higher potential for similar ecological conditions, but allowing greater spatial flexibility has been proposed. We examined the circumstances under which offsets distant from the impact location could be more likely to achieve no net loss or provide better ecological outcomes than offsets close to the impact area. We applied a graphical model for migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway as a case study to explore the problems that arise when incorporating spatial flexibility into offset planning. Spatially flexible offsets may alleviate impacts more effectively than local offsets; however, the risks involved can be substantial. For our case study, there were inadequate data to make robust conclusions about the effectiveness and equivalence of distant habitat-based offsets for migratory shorebirds. Decisions around offset placement should be driven by the potential to achieve equivalent ecological outcomes; however, when considering more distant offsets, there is a need to evaluate the likely increased risks alongside the potential benefits. Although spatially flexible offsets have the potential to provide more cost-effective biodiversity outcomes and more cobenefits, our case study showed the difficulty of demonstrating these benefits in practice and the potential risks that need to be considered to ensure effective offset placement. Assessing the combined threats of artificial light at night and air pollution for the world's nocturnally migrating birds Frank A. La Sorte, Myla F. J. Aronson, Christopher A. Lepczyk, Kyle G. Horton Abstract: Aim Two important environmental hazards for nocturnally migrating birds are artificial light at night (ALAN) and air pollution, with ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) considered to be especially harmful. Nocturnally migrating birds are attracted to ALAN during seasonal migration, which could increase exposure to PM2.5. Here, we examine PM2.5 concentrations and PM2.5 trends and the spatial correlation between ALAN and PM2.5 within the geographical ranges of the world's nocturnally migrating birds. Location Global. Time period 1998-2018. Major taxa studied Nocturnally migrating birds. Methods We intersected a global database of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations over a 21-year period (1998-2018) with the geographical ranges (breeding, non-breeding and regions of passage) of 225 nocturnally migrating bird species in three migration flyways (Americas, n = 143; Africa-Europe, n = 36; and East Asia-Australia, n = 46). For each species, we estimated PM2.5 concentrations and trends and measured the correlation between ALAN and PM2.5, which we summarized by season and flyway. Results Correlations between ALAN and PM2.5 were significantly positive across all seasons and flyways. The East Asia-Australia flyway had the strongest ALAN-PM2.5 correlations within regions of passage, the highest PM2.5 concentrations across all three seasons and the strongest positive PM2.5 trends on the non-breeding grounds and within regions of passage. The Americas flyway had the strongest negative air pollution trends on the non-breeding grounds and within regions of passage. The breeding grounds had similarly negative air pollution trends within the three flyways. Main conclusions The combined threats of ALAN and air pollution are greatest and likely to be increasing within the East Asia-Australia flyway and lowest and likely to be decreasing within the Americas and Africa-Europe flyways. Reversing PM2.5 trends in the East Asia-Australia flyway and maintaining negative PM2.5 trends in the Americas and Africa-Europe flyways while reducing ALAN levels would likely be beneficial for the nocturnally migrating bird populations in each region. Influence of heavy metals on Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) reproduction in the Yellow River Estuary: risk assessment and bioaccumulation Yuewei Yang, Fengfei Sun, Kai Liu, Junfeng Chen, Tong Zheng & Meizhen Tang Abstract: The heavy metal migration in the food chain exerted significant influence on the survival and reproduction of wetland birds and then disturbed and threatened the balance and health of the estuary ecosystem. In this study, the concentration of heavy metals (Cu, Cr, Fe, Mn, Cd, Ni, and Pb) in surface sediment of the Yellow River Estuary (YRE), the food sources of Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) nestlings, and the egg structure of birds were analyzed to determine the bioaccumulation and reproductive influence on wetland bird. The results indicated higher mean concentrations of sediment heavy metals than their corresponding background values in 2019, with the exception of Fe. Notably, the metal Cd exceeded geochemical background value by 1561.5% in 2018 and 1353.9% in 2019, resulting in severe contamination associated with Cd in the YRE (with geo-accumulation indexes of 3.44 and 3.23). Biomagnification factor (BMF) of heavy metals demonstrated that the concentrations of Cr, Ni, and Cu decreased with the trophic level rising while Cd, Mn, Pb, and Fe denoted bio-amplification in the food chain. The residual indexes showed that the food resources of Saunders's Gull were polluted by Cr, Pb, and Cu. Additionally, a higher enrichment of heavy metals was observed in the eggshell membrane. Metal concentrations had significant influences on the reproduction of Saunders's Gull, except for Cd, among which Ni, Pb, Cu, and Fe may have contributed to the reproductive success of birds, whereas the hatching failure of birds may be caused by Cr and Mn. It is of great importance to monitor the contamination of the wetland ecosystem and provide effective management and protection of the wildlife in the YRE. Heavy metal exposure to a migratory waterfowl, Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), in two peri-urban wetlands Mukherjee, Arkajyoti; Pal, Sudin; Das, Papita; Mukhopadhyay, Subhra Kumar Abstract: In this study, the heavy metal exposure risk model was employed to assess the exposure risk to a predominantly herbivore waterfowl, Northern Pintail, wintering in two wetland habitats in the Purulia district of West Bengal, located on overlapping Central Asian Flyway (CAF) and East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). Both wetlands were important staging and roosting grounds for migratory waterfowl for ages. The exposure model was used to quantify the risk of exposure to metals through oral ingestion. Exposure doses of Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cr through food plants ingestion and food-associated sediment consumption pathways were two potent sources of heavy metal exposure in the waterfowl under study. Exposure through water intake was ignored as metals were either of negligible concentrations or below the detection limit in water samples. Heavy metal concentrations showed significant positive correlations between bottom sediment and plant at both sites. At Purulia Sahebbandh (Site 1), the total exposure dose of all four metals was much higher than their conforming tolerable daily intake (TDI), and thereby, the metals might pose threats to the migratory wintering herbivorous waterfowl populations. However, in Adra Sahebbandh (Site 2), total exposure doses of Pb, Zn and Cu were much below their corresponding TDI. The Hazard Quotient (HQ) of Cr was highest followed by nonessential toxic Pb and these two elements could be considered as priority pollutants at Site 1. Prioritize threats were decreased in the following sequence: Cr > Pb > Cu > Zn at Site 1 and Cr > Zn > Pb > Cu at Site 2. Hazard Index was found to be >5 at Site 1 and for much higher metal loads a significant correlation between metal concentrations in plants, bottom sediment and exposure doses were also recorded. Therefore, the peri-urban Purulia Sahebbandh wetland could immediately be considered for risk control and demanded holistic management of important waterfowl habitats. Factors Driving the Abundance of Wintering Waterbirds in Coastal Areas of Guangdong Province, China Xitao Yang, Zhizhao Duan, Shuangshuang Li, Chunxia Zhang, Ming Qu, Guodong Hua, Xiaonan Niu, Huijian Hu and Dongmei Yu Abstract: The diverse habitat of the coastal areas of Guangdong, China, supports important waterbird populations, thereby contributing to the conservation of waterbirds in China and globally. The sensitivity of different waterbirds to environmental driving factors results in differences in habitat selection, which in combination affect waterbird abundance. This study investigated the effects of environmental and human disturbance factors on the abundance of waterbirds based on a survey of waterbirds in coastal areas of Guangdong Province, China. Redundancy analysis (RDA) was mainly used to study the relationships between the abundance of waterbirds and environmental and human factors. The results showed that the areas of mangrove and tidal flats were the main factors driving the abundance of shorebirds and open water waterbirds, whereas the areas of mangrove and water bodies were the main factors driving the abundance of wading birds and waterfowl, respectively. Road length and the areas of construction land were found to have negative effects on the abundance of waterbirds. A waterbird protection and management strategy was proposed based on the results. The Hwaseong Wetlands Reclamation Area and Tidal Flats, Republic of Korea: A Case of Waterbird Conservation in the Yellow Sea Nial Moores, Hanchul Jung, Hwa-Jung Kim, Bo-Yeon Hwang, Wee-Haeng Hur and Amaël Borzée Abstract: The reclamation of tidal flats is implicated in the declines of a large number of migratory waterbird species along the East Asia-Australasian Flyway, and has resulted in the assessment of Yellow Sea tidal flats as an Endangered habitat by the IUCN. Created in their present form by large-scale reclamation, the Hwaseong Wetlands on the Yellow Sea coast of the Republic of Korea are comprised of tidal flats, a large reclamation lake, and extensive areas of rice-fields and fallow land. As part of preparation for increased protections for these wetlands, we conducted bird surveys between late June 2020 and mid-June 2021. During this period, we recorded more than 150,000 waterbirds in the wetland and concentrations of 1% or more of 25 populations of waterbird. We also recorded a total of 16 globally threatened wetland species. As at many other coastal wetlands in the Yellow Sea, tidal flat obligate waterbird species used the tidal flats for foraging; and roosted in artificial wetlands which had been created through the reclamation process. The extensive areas of rice-field and other freshwater habitats in the Hwaseong Wetlands were also internationally important in their own right, supporting globally threatened amphibians and internationally important concentrations of foraging geese and floodplain-associated waterbird species. The movements of waterbirds between foraging and roosting areas we recorded make clear that conservation of the site’s biodiversity either as a Ramsar site or within a serial World Heritage Property would require protection of all the contiguous tidal flats and also of the most biodiverse rice-field and freshwater wetland areas. As elsewhere in the coastal zone of the Republic of Korea, this would first require the support of local stakeholders and also a reduction in jurisdictional issues between various local and national decision-making bodies.   3) Avian Influenza /Others Habitat loss exacerbates pathogen spread: An Agent-based model of avian influenza infection in migratory waterfowl Shenglai Yin, Yanjie Xu, Mingshuai Xu, Mart C M de Jong, Mees R S Huisman, Andrea Contina, Herbert H T Prins, Zheng Y X Huang, Willem F de Boer Abstract: Habitat availability determines the distribution of migratory waterfowl along their flyway, which further influences the transmission and spatial spread of avian influenza viruses (ATVs). The extensive habitat loss in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) may have potentially altered the virus spread and transmission, but those consequences are rarely studied. We constructed 6 fall migration networks that differed in their level of habitat loss, wherein an increase in habitat loss resulted in smaller networks with fewer sites and links. We integrated an agent-based model and a susceptible-infected-recovered model to simulate waterfowl migration and AIV transmission. We found that extensive habitat loss in the EAAF can 1) relocate the outbreaks northwards, responding to the distribution changes of wintering waterfowl geese, 2) increase the outbreak risk in remaining sites due to larger goose congregations, and 3) facilitate AIV transmission in the migratory population. In addition, our modeling output was in line with the predictions from the concept of "migratory escape", i.e., the migration allows the geese to "escape" from the location where infection risk is high, affecting the pattern of infection prevalence in the waterfowl population. Our modeling shed light on the potential consequences of habitat loss in spreading and transmitting AIV at the flyway scale and suggested the driving mechanisms behind these effects, indicating the importance of conservation in changing spatial and temporal patterns of AIV outbreaks. Genetic and Pathogenic Characterization of Avian Influenza Virus in Migratory Birds between 2015 and 2019 in Central China Zhongzi Yao, Huabin Zheng, Jiasong Xiong, Liping Ma, Rui Gui, Gongliang Zhu, Yong Li, Guoxiang Yang, Guang Chen, Jun Zhang, and Quanjiao Chen Abstract: Active surveillance of avian influenza virus (AIV) in wetlands and lakes is important for exploring the gene pool in wild birds. Through active surveillance from 2015 through 2019, 10,900 samples from wild birds in central China were collected, and 89 AIVs were isolated, including 2 subtypes of highly pathogenic AIV and 12 of low-pathogenic AIV; H9N2 and H6Ny were the dominant subtypes. Phylogenetic analysis of the isolates demonstrated that extensive intersubtype reassortments and frequent intercontinental gene exchange occurred in AIVs. AIV gene segments persistently circulated in several migration seasons, but interseasonal persistence of the whole genome was rare. The whole genomes of one H6N6 and polymerase basic 2 (PB2), polymerase acidic (PA), hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), M, and nonstructural (NS) genes of one H9N2 virus were found to be of poultry origin, suggesting a spillover of AIVs from poultry to wild birds. Importantly, one H9N2 virus only bound to human-type receptor, and one H1N1, four H6, and seven H9N2 viruses possessed dual receptor-binding capacity. Nineteen of 20 representative viruses tested could replicate in the lungs of mice without preadaptation, which poses a clear threat of infection in humans. Together, our study highlights the need for intensive AIV surveillance. IMPORTANCE Influenza virus surveillance in wild birds plays an important role in the early recognition and control of the virus. However, the AIV gene pool in wild birds in central China along the East Asian-Australasian flyway has not been well studied. Here, we conducted a 5-year AIV active surveillance in this region. Our data revealed the long-term circulation and prevalence of AIVs in wild birds in central China, and we observed that intercontinental gene exchange of AIVs is more frequent and continuous than previously thought. Spillover events from poultry to wild bird were observed in H6 and H9 viruses. In addition, in 20 representative viruses, 12 viruses could bind human-type receptors, and 19 viruses could replicate in mice without preadaption. Our work highlights the potential threat of wild bird AIVs to public health. Influenza virus surveillance in wild birds plays an important role in the early recognition and control of the virus. However, the AIV gene pool in wild birds in central China along the East Asian-Australasian flyway has not been well studied.


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  • Updates of HPAI recorded in East Asian – Australasian Flyway

    Since November 2021, a series of unprecedent outbreaks of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) occurred in western Eurasia and depleted significant percentages of waterbirds and seabird populations: Barnacle Goose in Scotland, Eurasian Crane in Israel, Dalmatian Pelican in southeastern Balkans and seabirds along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. However, no significant incidents were reported from the East Asian-Australasian Flyway except die-offs of several hundred seabirds, such as Tufted Puffins and Rhinoceros Auklets, recorded around the waters of Kunashir Islands in southern Kuril in August 2022, which no official evidence of an HPAI outbreak was indicated by the time of writing. Yet, outbreaks of HPAI was recorded in cranes and other migratory waterbirds in the EAA Flyway in recent two months. Hooded Cranes in Suncheon Bay © Suncheon City On 1 November 2022, a Hooded Crane was found dead at Izumi, Japan and about one week later it was confirmed to be HPAI positive. Numbers of dead birds escalated since, reaching a daily peak of 74 dead Hooded Cranes collected on 17 November. Dead White-naped Cranes were recorded starting on 14 November. The number of daily totals of dead cranes decreased to less than 15 carcasses found from 8 December. As of 23 December 2022, the total number of carcasses of Hooded Cranes collected at Izumi were at least 1,097 and White-naped Crane at least 47. Three Hooded Crane carcasses testing positive of HPAI were collected from Kyushu: 2 from Isahaya and 1 from Akune (Information from the website of Ministry of the Environment Japan, link). Movements of cranes departing from Izumi, Japan were observed from late November. At the same time, there was a surge in the number of Hooded Cranes wintering at Suncheon, Ro Korea. It was speculated some cranes moved from Izumi to wintering sites in Ro Korea. This was proven by Hooded Cranes tracked by Dr Li Xianda in China (from Izumi, Japan to Chonsu Bay, Ro Korea in late November 2022). However, such movement is not irregular as Dr Li’s tagged Hooded Cranes were also recorded travelling between wintering sites in Japan and Ro Korea in 2020 and 2021 (Per. comm. from Li Xianda to Simba Chan). The number of Hooded Cranes at Suncheon reached a peak of several thousand birds in late November but started to decrease to about 3,500 birds in early December. It is believed cranes moved to Chonsu Bay and Galsa Bay, other wintering sites of Hooded Cranes in Ro Korea. The first dead Hooded Crane was found at Suncheon on 13 November. As of 12 December, 158 dead Hooded Cranes and one dead White-naped Crane were found in Ro Korea. On 20 November one sick Red-crowned Crane was captured in Kushiro, Japan and it was tested HPAI positive one week later. However, this should be seen as an independent case of HPAI from the wintering grounds in western Japan. In response to the HPAI outbreak, the Crane Working Group of the EAAFP held an emergency zoom meeting on 12 December and a proposal for reactions to the HPAI in the EAAF region was submitted to the EAAFP Secretariat. The Crane Working Group also sent warnings to other crane wintering sites. So far no abnormal crane deaths has been reported from China and the wintering sites were advised not to artificially feed cranes to avoid concentrations of cranes and other wintering birds. The Crane Working Group has also contacted crane researchers in Israel on possible links between the present incident and the HPAI outbreak at Hula Valley in December 2021, in which about 8,000 Eurasian Cranes died. Advice from Israeli colleagues was to remove crane carcasses especially those in water as quickly as possible and also avoid artificial feeding that would result in concentration of birds. In late November to early December, 34 dead Oriental Storks were found near Tianjin, at the coast of Bohai, China. Poisoning from poachers and HPAI have been ruled out and the cause of death is still under investigation. On 24 November and 12 December, dead Black-faced Spoonbills were found at Mai Po Nature Reserve and Hong Kong Wetland Park in Hong Kong S.A.R. respectively, were confirmed to be HPAI positive. On 9 December another dead Black-faced Spoonbill collected at Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan was also found to be HPAI positive. It is speculated more birds may have died during migration but were not found or reported. At the time when this news release was written, catastrophic HPAI outbreaks are occurring in Latin America, particularly along the coast of Peru where more than 20,000 dead seabirds (majority Peruvian Pelicans) recorded. The massive outbreaks of HPAI that started in western Eurasia in late 2021 are now being recorded in the East Asian Australasian Flyway. The Crane Working Group contacted other species working groups and task forces and almost all agreed on actions that should be taken as soon as possible. While we proposed strategies to be discussed at meetings in 2023, we also urge managers and local stakeholders at important waterbird/seabird sites to take precautions as suggested below, and countries along the flyway should keep in close communication on new cases of outbreaks. Recommendation to important waterbird/seabird sites: Have at least one staff member in charge of biosecurity. Have a contingency plan following the guidance of national authorities in case of outbreak of avian influenza and other avian diseases. Ideally the plan will be rehearsed every year before migratory seasons so staff and volunteers of the site understand all procedures and their roles in case of emergency. Have a contact list of agencies and institutions that can provide support during an outbreak. Have regular monitoring and surveillance on wild birds, particularly when outbreaks are reported along the flyway. In case sick and/or dead birds are found, try to collect them without causing disturbance to other birds. Although the risk of HPAI transmitting to human is low, personal protective equipment has to be used when handling sick or dead birds and the methods of collection and handling should follow national guidelines. Photographing the dead bird for records and to identify the species and gender. Useful references: 2007. Wild Birds and Avian Influenza: an introduction to applied field research and disease sampling techniques. Edited by D. Whitworth, S.H. Newman, T. Mundkur and P. Harris. FAO Animal Production and Health Manual, No. 5. Rome. (download from here) CMS Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds Issues Recommendations (2022) (visit the webpage here). Hacen Mohamed El-Hacen. 2022. Workshop report: Development and consequences of the recent bird flu outbreak among Sandwich terns in the Wadden Sea and adjacent areas (download from here) Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds statement on: H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds: Winter of 2021/2022 with focus on mass mortality of wild birds in UK and Israel (2022) (download from here) Wildlife Health Australia (2021) The sixth issue Wild Bird News June 2021 - National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance Newsletter (download from here) More references and useful links are available on webpage of Avian Influenza Working Group (link), News links:  Ministry of the Environment, Japan: 高病原性鳥インフルエンザに関する情報 | 自然環境・生物多様性 | 環境省 (env.go.jp) News about dead seabirds washed to Kunashir Islands in southern Kuril (available on 12 August, 2022, visit the webpage here) Article prepared by Crane Working Group.


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  • Updates of Worldwide Avian Influenza Situation by FAO/EMPRES-AH (Sept 2022 – Dec 2022)

    FAO/EMPRES-AH is constantly monitoring the avian influenza situation worldwide and compiles information from multiple national and international sources as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. Close collaboration with country and…


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  • Updates of Worldwide Avian Influenza Situation by FAO/EMPRES-AH (Jun 2022 – Sept 2022)

    FAO/EMPRES-AH is constantly monitoring the avian influenza situation worldwide and compiles information from multiple national and international sources as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. Close collaboration with country and…


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  • Updates of worldwide Avian Influenza situation by FAO/EMPRES-AH (Mar 2022 – Jun 2022)

    FAO/EMPRES-AH is constantly monitoring the avian influenza situation worldwide and compiles information from multiple national and international sources as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. Close collaboration with country and…


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