Peter N. Ferns

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Life-history theory proposes that costs must be associated with reproduction. Many direct costs are incurred during breeding. There is also evidence for indirect costs, incurred after breeding, which decrease survival and future reproductive success. One possible indirect cost identified in birds is that breeding activity in some way compromises plumage(More)
A prediction arising from several evolutionary diet breadth models is that, in insect herbivores whose adults practise adaptive host plant selection based on larval performance, female adult lifespan should be negatively correlated with larval diet breadth. In one category of models, female adult lifespan drives evolutionary changes in larval diet breadth;(More)
Nests are structures built to support and protect eggs and/or offspring from predators, parasites, and adverse weather conditions. Nests are mainly constructed prior to egg laying, meaning that parent birds must make decisions about nest site choice and nest building behavior before the start of egg-laying. Parent birds should be selected to choose nest(More)
The increase in size of human populations in urban and agricultural areas has resulted in considerable habitat conversion globally. Such anthropogenic areas have specific environmental characteristics, which influence the physiology, life history, and population dynamics of plants and animals. For example, the date of bud burst is advanced in urban compared(More)
As field determinations take much effort, it would be useful to be able to predict easily the coefficients describing the functional response of free-living predators, the function relating food intake rate to the abundance of food organisms in the environment. As a means easily to parameterise an individual-based model of shorebird Charadriiformes(More)
In behavior-based individual-based models (IBMs), demographic functions are emergent properties of the model and are not built into the model structure itself, as is the case with the more widely used demography-based IBMs. Our behavior-based IBM represents the physiology and behavioral decision making of individual animals and, from that, predicts how many(More)
Lead concentrations were determined in the organs of a shorebird, the dunlin, in its main invertebrate prey, and in sediments collected from five sites in the Bristol Channel. The highest sediment concentrations were found in the Taff Estuary (97 microg g(-1) dry mass). The highest concentrations in invertebrates were found in the upper Severn Estuary (45(More)
The effects of habitat gaps on breeding success and parental daily energy expenditure (DEE) were investigated in great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) in urban parkland (Cardiff, UK) compared with birds in deciduous woodland (eastern England, UK). Tree canopy height, the percentage of gap in the canopy and the percentage of oak (in(More)
Cadmium levels were determined in sediments, sediment-dwelling invertebrates and in one of their predators, the dunlin, at five sites in the Bristol Channel. The highest sediment cadmium levels were found in the Taff Estuary and at Avonmouth. The highest invertebrate levels were found at Avonmouth and Swansea. In dunlins, the highest cadmium levels were(More)
Demands on land use in heavily populated landscapes create mosaic structures where semi-natural habitat patches are generally small and dominated by edges. Small patches are also more exposed and thus more vulnerable to adverse weather and potential effects of climate change. These conditions may be less problematic for generalist species than for(More)