vailable terrestrial and aquatic habitats which airborne organisms rely upon. These conditions are known to influence navigational cues, sources of food, water, nesting and roosting habitats--factors that can, in turn, alter the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the assemblages of organisms.
Similarly, "climate change and its expected increase in global temperatures, altered circulation of air masses, and effects on local and regional weather patterns are expected to have profound impacts on the foraging and migratory behavior of insects, birds and bats," noted Kunz.
"In contrast to organisms that depend strictly on terrestrial or aquatic existence, those that routinely use the aerosphere are almost immediately influenced by changing atmospheric conditions ( e.g. winds, air density, precipitation, air temperature) sunlight, polarized light, moonlight and geomagnetic and gravitational forces," the report states.
Ecologists who study animals that use the aerosphere face three important challenges:
- to discover best methods for detecting the presence, taxonomic identity, diversity, and activity of organisms that use this aerial environment,
- to identify ways to integrate relevant environmental variables at different temporal and spatial scales, and
- to determine how best to understand and interpret behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary responses of organisms in the context of complex meteorological conditions and patterns within both natural and anthropogenically-altered environments.
"Appropriate integration of diverse tools and concepts for probing into the lives of organisms aloft can help inform important ecological and evolutionary concepts and management decisions associated with the spread of invasive species, emergence of infectious diseases, altered biodiversity, and sustainability of terrestrial, aquatic, and aerospheric environments," said Kunz.
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