Rapid upslope shifts in New Guinean birds illustrate strong distribution

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Subject: Rapid upslope shifts in New Guinean birds illustrate strong distributional responses of tropical montane species to global warming
From: colin trainor <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2014 15:50:53 +0930
An interesting recent study that re-samples sites first surveyed by Jared 
Diamond 40+yrs ago.... to look at changes in elevation use by montane birds in 
New Guinea region..


Temperate-zone species have responded to warming temperatures by 
shifting their distributions poleward and upslope. Thermal
                              tolerance data suggests that tropical 
species may respond to warming temperatures even more strongly than 
temperate-zone species,
                              but this prediction has yet to be tested. 
We addressed this data gap by conducting resurveys to measure 
distributional responses
                              to temperature increases in the 
elevational limits of the avifaunas of two geographically and faunally 
independent New Guinean
                              mountains, Mt. Karimui and Karkar Island, 
47 and 44 y after they were originally surveyed. Although species 
richness is roughly
                              five times greater on mainland Mt. Karimui
 than oceanic Karkar Island, distributional shifts at both sites were 
similar: upslope
                              shifts averaged 113 m (Mt. Karimui) and 
152 m (Karkar Island) for upper limits and 95 m (Mt. Karimui) and 123 m 
(Karkar Island)
                              for lower limits. We incorporated these 
results into a metaanalysis to compare distributional responses of 
tropical species
                              with those of temperate-zone species, 
finding that average upslope shifts in tropical montane species match 
local temperature
                              increases significantly more closely than 
in temperate-zone montane species. That tropical species appear to be 
strong responders
                              has global conservation implications and 
provides empirical support to hitherto untested models that predict 
widespread extinctions
                              in upper-elevation tropical endemics with 
small ranges.
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