Dietary guild composition and disaggregation of avian assemblages under climate change

Authors

  • Chia-Ying Ko,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
    2. School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
    3. Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
    • Correspondence: Chia-Ying Ko, tel. +886 226539885 ext. 860, fax +886 227833584, e-mail: chia-ying.ko@yale.edu

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  • Oswald J. Schmitz,

    1. School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
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  • Morgane Barbet-Massin,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
    2. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-UPMC, Conservation des espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations, Paris, France
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  • Walter Jetz

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
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Abstract

Climate change is expected to cause geographic redistributions of species. To the extent that species within assemblages have different niche requirements, assemblages may no longer remain intact and dis- and reassemble at current or new geographic locations. We explored how climate change projected by 2100 may transform the world's avian assemblages (characterized at a 110 km spatial grain) by modeling environmental niche-based changes to their dietary guild structure under 0, 500, and 2000 km-dispersal distances. We examined guild structure changes at coarse (primary, high-level, and mixed consumers) and fine (frugivores, nectarivores, insectivores, herbivores, granivores, scavengers, omnivores, and carnivores) ecological resolutions to determine whether or not geographic co-occurrence patterns among guilds were associated with the magnitude to which guilds are functionally resolved. Dietary guilds vary considerably in their global geographic prevalence, and under broad-scale niche-based redistribution of species, these are projected to change very heterogeneously. A nondispersal assumption results in the smallest projected changes to guild assemblages, but with significant losses for some regions and guilds, such as South American insectivores. Longer dispersal distances are projected to cause greater degrees of disassembly, and lead to greater homogenization of guild composition, especially in northern Asia and Africa. This arises because projected range gains and losses result in geographically heterogeneous patterns of guild compensation. Projected decreases especially of primary and mixed consumers most often are compensated by increases in high-level consumers, with increasing uncertainty about these outcomes as dispersal distance and degree of guild functional resolution increase. Further exploration into the consequences of these significant broad-scale ecological functional changes at the community or ecosystem level should be increasingly on the agenda for conservation science.

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