Spatio-temporal variation in bird assemblages is associated with fluctuations in temperature and precipitation along a tropical elevational gradient

  • Understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics of species assemblages is a main challenge in ecology. The mechanisms that shape species assemblages and their temporal fluctuations along tropical elevational gradients are particularly poorly understood. Here, we examined the spatio-temporal dynamics of bird assemblages along an elevational gradient in Ecuador. We conducted bird point counts at three elevations (1000, 2000 and 3000 m) on 18 1-ha plots and repeated the sampling eight times over two years (216 hours in total). For each plot, we obtained data of monthly temperatures and precipitation and recorded the overall resource availability (i.e., the sum of flower, fruit, and invertebrate resources). As expected, bird richness decreased from low to high elevations. Moreover, we found a significant decrease in bird abundance and richness and an increase in evenness between the most and least humid season at each of the three elevations. Climatic factors were more closely related to these temporal fluctuations than local resource availability. While temperature had significant positive effects on the abundance of birds at mid and high elevations, precipitation negatively affected bird abundance at low and mid elevations. Our study highlights that bird assemblages along tropical elevational gradients can show pronounced seasonal fluctuations. In particular, low temperatures and high precipitation seem to impose important constraints on birds. We conclude that potential changes in climate, due to global warming, are likely to affect the spatio-temporal dynamics of bird assemblages along tropical elevational gradients.
Author:Vinicio SantillánORCiD, Marta Quitián RodríguezGND, Boris A. Tinoco, Edwin Zárate, Matthias SchleuningORCiDGND, Katrin Böhning-GaeseORCiDGND, Eike Lena NeuschulzORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):PLoS One
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Contributor(s):Stephanie S. Romanach
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/05/10
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/05/24
Tag:Bird physiology; Birds; Flowers; Invertebrates; Meteorology; Rain; Seasons; Species diversity
Issue:(5): e0196179
Page Number:15
First Page:1
Last Page:15
Copyright: © 2018 Santillán et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0