Understanding the non-stationary drivers of bird community dynamics

Understanding the non-stationary drivers of bird community dynamics

Bird communities across North America are in decline, yet there is limited information on the spatio-temporal variables that are driving such declines. Land use and climate change are believed to be two of the primary drivers of these declines, yet their impacts on bird populations is non-stationary across bird species, space, and time, creating large uncertainty in the retrospective effects of these variables across large spatio-temporal regions, as well as the effects climate and land use change will have on bird communities in the future. Information on how climate and land use change have impacted bird communities in the past, how these effects vary across space, and how they are predicted to effect bird communities in the future will provide more useful information to conservation and resource management practitioners on how to best conserve and manage bird communities in the face of ongoing global change.

I am currently working on a collaborative project that seeks to more completely understand the relative impacts of climate and land use change on breeding season bird communities across the continental US over the last 50 years. We are developing a multi-species spatio-temporal modeling framework to accommodate non-stationary effects of climate and land use change variables across both space and time to more completely understand how these drivers impact bird occurrence dynamics. Specifically, we are seeking to address the following questions:

  1. What are the relative effects of climate and land use change on bird occurrence dynamics over the last 50 years? How does the relative importance of the two variables for avian occurrence vary over space and time during the breeding season?
  2. What are the predicted relative effects of climate and land use change over the next 50 years, and how does their relative importance in shaping future avian distributions vary over space?
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Jeff Doser
Postdoctoral Research Associate