An ENR Graduate Exit Seminar will be held Wednesday, Nov. 14th, at 10:15 a.m. in 333C Kottman Hall. Kate Batdorf will present Distributional Changes in Ohio's Breeding Birds and the Importance of Climate and Land Cover Change.
Major changes in the Earth’s climate and land cover over the last century are having wide-ranging effects on flora and fauna. Understanding these effects on species distributions is essential to conserve and manage populations. Several studies that have examined distributional shifts among avian species have detected poleward shifts and attributed these trends to recent climate change. However the American Midwest differs from the areas in which these studies were conducted in landscape composition, patterns of land cover change, and species assemblages. Few, if any, multi-species studies have used spatially and temporally explicit climate and land cover data to understand what factors are driving changes in avian distributions. I used detailed grid-based data collected during two Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas projects (1982-1987, 2006-2011) to quantify long-term changes in latitudinal extent, center of occurrence, and number of block occurrences in 71 species. Additionally, I selected 17 representative songbird species and modeled their Ohio distributions in Atlas II using climate and/or land cover data from the same time period. These relationships were then back-projected with environmental data from the Atlas I time period to determine how changes in environmental determinants affected models of habitat suitability, and whether modeled habitat suitability change accurately predicted gains and losses of species from atlas blocks. This study represents the essential next step in understanding the relative impact of climate and land cover change on species’ distributions as well as elucidating central drivers of these trends in order to better inform conservation efforts.
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