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Impact of climate change on European breeding birds: community re-assembly and changes to functional diversity

2011Impact of climate change on European breeding birds: community re-assembly and changes to functional diversityWANG Ting (China)
Organisation:University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK)Supervisor :Richard Davies, Brian Huntley & Yvonne Collingham
Summary: To assess the ecological impact of these responses at different levels from species to ecosystem, Climate envelope models (CEMs) were used to infer the environmental requirements of a species based on the knowledge of its current geographic distribution. Rooted from the species level CEMs on European breeding birds from Huntley et al, we conduct the model up to the community level, to understand the reassembly of breeding bird communities over a time span of 100 years. I use two measures of biodiversity: Functional Diversity (FD) and species richness (SR) to describe the community characteristics. 10 groups of functional trait data were compiled for 474 species to calculate the FD for each of the 7489 UTM grid cells. The calculation runs for 2 emission scenarios: A2 and A1B, as well as 2 bird dispersal scenarios: Total-dispersal and Non-dispersal. The results were plotted on maps to visualize the spatial shifts. The general patterns in the future are of greater FD and SR in the subarctic regions than in the central/western Europe. Focusing on a single grid cell, the bird community reassembly in the future can be interpolated from ‘lost’, ‘arrived’, ‘remaining’, these three portions of diversity. A high ratio between ‘arrived’ and ‘lost’ diversity indicates an increasing FD and SR. For the total dispersal scenario, the subarctic regions will have more arrived bird species than lost. Thus, the bird diversity will increase significantly in these regions. For the non-dispersal scenario, diversity loss in central/western Europe is observed. There are significant difference between 2 emission scenarios on the mean FD and SR. However this difference should be treated with caution. The number and range of quadrats with positive observed minus expected FD change in all future scenarios with similar pattern to the FD and SR shifts. Under current climate change forecast, changes of the European breeding bird communities manifest from range shifts, composition changes to functional reconstruction, indicating huge threatens towards species conservation.