Bird Migration and Climate Change (completed)

About the project

There is great interest in birds as model organisms for the study of impacts of climate change on mobile organisms, as they are easily observed, enjoy great popularity among the general public, and their biology is well known compared to many other groups of organisms. Changes in climate may affect birds at different stages in their life cycle, such as breeding, migration and wintering. There are well-documented changes in the timing of migration over the past decades, but it is unclear which aspects of the migration have changed, and how such changes may be linked to climate change and dynamics at the population and landscape levels. Bird migration is a spectacular phenomenon at northern and intermediate latitudes, and at bird observatories along the migration route, large numbers of birds are ringed each spring and autumn. Over time, this has resulted in long-term time series valuable for environmental monitoring and ecological research. This project will use ringing data obtained from such observatories to investigate questions such as: How does the pattern and phenology of migration change over time and across space? How do weather conditions and other environmental factors affect the spatiotemporal dynamics of migrating birds? How are migration patterns related to climate indices such as the NAO index? What differences can be seen between species / populations / individuals of differing life history, origin, age or internal state? How can changes in migration link to population and landscape dynamics? How can ringing data and standardized counts from bird observatories contribute to environmental monitoring schemes?

Published Apr. 19, 2011 11:33 AM