Climatic seasonality, resource bottlenecks, and abundance of rainforest birds: implications for global climate change

Williams, Stephen E., and Middleton, Jeffery (2008) Climatic seasonality, resource bottlenecks, and abundance of rainforest birds: implications for global climate change. Diversity and Distributions, 14 (1). pp. 69-77.

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We demonstrate that within-year climatic variability, particularly rainfall seasonality, is the most significant variable explaining spatial patterns of bird abundance in Australian tropical rainforest. The likely mechanism causing this pattern is a resource bottleneck (insects, nectar, and fruit) during the dry season that limits the population size of many species. The patterns support both the diversity–climatic–stability hypothesis and the species–energy hypothesis but clearly show that seasonality in energy availability may be a more significant factor than annual totals or means. An index of dry season severity is proposed that quantifies the combined effect of the degree of dryness and the duration of the dry season. We suggest that the predicted increases in seasonality due to global climate change could produce significant declines in bird abundance, further exacerbating the impacts of decreased range size, increased fragmentation, and decreased population size likely to occur as a result of increasing temperature. We suggest that increasing climatic seasonality due to global climate change has the potential to have significant negative impacts on tropical biodiversity.

Item ID: 5187
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: abundance; birds; climate change; macroecology; rainforest; seasonality
ISSN: 1472-4642
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2009 23:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 75%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 29
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