Temporal and spatial variability of breeding in Australian birds and the potential implications of climate change

Gibbs, Heather M., Chambers, Lynda E. and Bennett, Andrew F. 2011, Temporal and spatial variability of breeding in Australian birds and the potential implications of climate change, Emu, vol. 111, no. 4, pp. 283-291.

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Title Temporal and spatial variability of breeding in Australian birds and the potential implications of climate change
Author(s) Gibbs, Heather M.
Chambers, Lynda E.
Bennett, Andrew F.
Journal name Emu
Volume number 111
Issue number 4
Start page 283
End page 291
Total pages 9
Publisher CISRO Publishing
Place of publication Australia
Publication date 2011
ISSN 0158-4197
1448-5540
Keyword(s) avian ecology
breeding participation
ENSO
temperature
Summary Climate change has profound implications for biodiversity worldwide. To understand its effects on Australia's avifauna, we need to evaluate the effects of annual climatic variability and geographical climate gradients. Here, we use national datasets to examine variation in breeding of 16 species of common and widespread Australian landbirds, in relation to four variables: altitude, latitude, year and the Southern Oscillation Index. Analysis of 30 years of nesting records confirmed that breeding was generally later in colder altitudes and latitudes (geographic variation), but was not consistently related to year or the Southern Oscillation Index (temporal variation). However, power to detect expected temporal effects was low. The timing of breeding became significantly earlier with year only in south-eastern Australia. In contrast, an index of breeding activity (the proportion of atlas records for a species for which breeding was reported) increased with increasing winter values of the Southern Oscillation Index (generally wetter conditions) for all 16 species across Australia. This suggests that annual fluctuations in rainfall can have dramatic and immediate effects on breeding, even for largely sedentary, seasonally breeding species. If, as expected, climate change creates drier conditions over much of Australia, we predict a marked negative effect on bird breeding.
Language eng
Field of Research 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio Economic Objective 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, CSIRO Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30044137

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