Rapid upslope shifts in New Guinean birds illustrate strong distribution

To: colin trainor <>
Subject: Rapid upslope shifts in New Guinean birds illustrate strong distributional responses of tropical montane species to global warming
From: Ian May <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2014 18:55:03 +1100

The study does not appear to consider seasonal changes that are more likely than small distribution movements due to climate shifts.

colin trainor wrote:

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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