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Climate change driving tropical birds to higher elevations
Date:12/8/2011

mountains in central Peru a place visited by only a few ornithologists on prior occasions. The complex topography, geology and climate of the mountains have produced isolated patches of habitat with unique avian communities and distinct taxa.

Forero-Medina and his colleagues used survey data collected on bird species in the region in the 1970s by John Terborgh, research professor emeritus at Duke, to compare past and present distributions.

"Using John Terborgh's groundbreaking data -- the first ever collected from this region --gave us a unique opportunity to understand the effects of 40 years of warming on tropical birds," Forero-Medina says.

The biologists found that although the ranges of many bird species have shifted uphill since Terborgh's time, the shifts fell short of what scientists had projected based on temperature increases over the four decades.

"This may be bad news," Pimm said. "Species may be damned if they move to higher elevations to keep cool and then simply run out of habitat. But, by staying put, they may have more habitat but they may overheat."


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Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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