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UC Berkeley survey shows college campuses can make good bird havens
Date:7/24/2012

of today's field biologists.

"With studies like these, the data often don't survive," Bowie said. "But Wythe's data were squirreled away in the dusty drawers of the campus's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and we were able to pull it out. We need more people to look for old and dusty data files; they can tell us a lot."

The pluses of restoring native habitat

Bowie said that biologists expect urbanization to either decrease the diversity of species; homogenize species, such that the same bird species are found in cities regardless of location; or lead to community turnover, so that a diverse but different group of species comes in more suited to a different habitat.

"We found evidence that if you still have a lot of open space, as in the suburbs or on campus, you tend to get community turnover," Bowie said. "Very sensitive species disappear, but other species come in to fill similar functional roles. You get different seed eaters and different fruit eaters, for example, with no decrease in net diversity."

Because the earlier studies looked only at the presence or absence of species, the recent study only analyzed changes in the number of bird species. But Shultz also counted the relative abundance of different bird species, filing her data for some future undergraduate who will be able to write her honor's thesis on how the numbers as well as variety of birds on campus have changed with time.


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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert  

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