Ebird and Shifting Populations Essay

Ebird and Shifting Populations Essay

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As a result of increasing temperatures, climate change is causing many environmental effects on a wide range of taxa. These effects include extinction, changes in behavior, changes in habitat, and territory (Thomas et al. 2004). In relation to the potential impact on conservation, it is important to learn how to track the effects and measure the actual impacts of climate change on different species.
Climate change can open new territories in which species would normally not be able to occupy. As a result of climate change, invasive species are being found in areas where they would normally not be able to survive (Hellmann et al., 2008). The warming temperatures and the subsequent change in habitats can also potentially affect the range of many species. Butterflies that live in colder climates in the UK have been increasingly forced northward (Franco, 2006). Freshwater fish habitats are projected to shift north up streams in North America (Mohseni et al. 2003). This suggests that warming temperatures are having effects on animal’s habitat range.
Birds are a common species to examine the effects of environmental change on the species' range. Birds are potentially vulnerable to temperature change with effects including laying their eggs earlier and changing their migratory patterns (Both et al., 2004, Sparks 1999). For temperature sensitive birds the change in temperature has the potential to force them to move into more northerly habitats. If more northerly habitats are getting warmer, the species that live in more southerly climates should shift in the direction of the warming temperatures. The problem that arises when examining the changes in range is identifying the range of the bird.
Tracking birds across time requires large ...


... middle of paper ...


...t suggests that the range is not possible to count
Citizen science remains an important means to investigate changes in patterns. With the relatively large corpus of data that comes with eBird and if it remains roughly accurate, then ebird deserves more consideration as a useful tool for uncovering trends that were not necessarily become identifiable through normal means. The results of this study are close enough in the overall trends of the northward maximum range that it imitates the findings of Munson et al. (2010) that eBird is similarly accurate to BBS. The use of eBird potentially allows one to track the different birds across the years which potentially allows one to examine further data about the birds range outside of the breeding season. The additional data that is provided will allow a better understanding of how climate change influences avian species.

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