An examination of interactions between bird and foundation plants in an arid ecosystem.

4c4015465c2e87aa8e3b5a9e4e45aec1?s=47 Malory
March 17, 2020

An examination of interactions between bird and foundation plants in an arid ecosystem.

Positive interactions between plants and animals create habitat infrastructure on which many species rely, especially when the promotion of foundation species is involved. Mutualistic interactions between plants and birds (like pollination or seed dispersal) are dependent on both plant and bird phenology or cyclic/seasonal changes. However, phenology is plastic as photoperiod and temperature largely determine flowering & fruiting for plants and migration & breeding for birds. As our climate changes and habitats degrade, we must understand what interactions are at risk. That's why, in this study, we examined the relationships between birds, their community, their behavior, and their microhabitat associations.

4c4015465c2e87aa8e3b5a9e4e45aec1?s=128

Malory

March 17, 2020
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  1. 1.

    An examination of interactions between bird and foundation plants in

    an arid ecosystem. Malory Owen & Christopher Lortie
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    Progress to date: • Second round of data extraction •

    Reviewed 424 studies for relevancy • +132 studies • Only 23 studies relevant (N=23) • Multiple records per studies (n=132) • Often missing important data necessary for meta-analysis
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    Purpose and Hypothesis Purpose: This study aims to explore the

    influence of a shift in desert bird community on foundation plant association and bird behavior to inform our understanding of potential phenological mismatches in desert ecosystems. Hypothesis: Phenology shifts in foundation plants (i.e. shrubs and cacti) and birds are linked and determine bird behavior.
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    Research Questions 1. How does desert bird community change between

    migratory/flowering seasons (hereafter referred to as spring) and breeding/fruiting seasons (hereafter referred to as summer)? 2. How do birds associate with available plant microhabitats or exhibit different behaviors in different seasons? 3. Are microhabitats fostering certain behaviors among birds?
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    Predictions 1. Spring and summer seasons change the desert bird

    community and their associations with the microhabitat plants. 2. Taxonomic and functional diversity of bird species differ when in association with microhabitat plant species relative to other microhabitats. 3. Bird behaviors are expressed at different frequencies in different microhabitats.
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    Field methods • Two-hour surveys walking on two 500m transects

    (N=2, n=20/season) • Species, behavior, microhabitat, coordinates, time of sighting, & distance from transect
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    Data manipulation • Behaviors and microhabitats were compressed • Behaviors:

    Active movement, Inactivity, Foraging, Cleaning, & Territorial/Mating behavior • Microhabitats: Shrub, Cactus, & Other • Taxonomic and Functional Diversity • Species • Trophic guild • Migratory class
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    Statistical Analysis • Difference in community between seasons? • LM/GLM

    and PCA • Diversity influence on behavior or microhabitat? • One-way ANOVA • Tukey HSD posthoc • Next steps: GLMs • Microhabitat influence on behavior? • Pearson’s Chi-squared test • Bonferroni posthoc
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    Key Findings to Date • 463 birds seen & 755

    birds heard • 39 species • 8 trophic guilds • 4 migratory classes
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    Mean ± SD (spring, summer) p-value F Species Microhabitat Shrub

    5.88 ± 14.4, 2.00 ± 8.4 0.122 1.758 Cactus 2.30 ± 6.69, 1.77 ± 7.84 Other 4.35 ± 8.03, 1.26 ± 5.02 Behavior Active movement 3.63 ± 6.44, 1.51 ± 6.17 <0.001 3.304 Cleaning 0.09 ± 0.37 Feeding 0.79 ± 1.57, 0.74 ± 3.26 Inactivity 2.02 ± 3.14, 1.00 ± 5.35 Territorial/mating 6.00 ± 15.31, 1.74 ± 8.21 Trophic Microhabitat Shrub 28.11 ± 42.96, 9.56 ± 18.10 0.345 1.155 Cactus 11.00 ± 13.64, 8.44 ± 16.33 Other 20.78 ± 26.84, 6.00 ± 10.09 Behavior Active movement 17.33 ± 19.94, 7.22 ± 13.46 0.038 2.11 Cleaning 0.44 ± 1.01, 0.11 ± 0.33 Feeding 3.78 ± 5.78, 3.56 ± 6.71 Inactivity 9.67 ± 10.62, 4.78 ± 11.41 Territorial/mating 28.67 ± 45.16, 8.33 ±17.30 Migratory Microhabitat Shrub 63.25 ± 60.92, 21.50 ± 35.95 0.631 0.699 Cactus 24.75 ± 36.65, 19.00 ± 36.67 Other 46.75 ± 66.79, 13.50 ± 25.68 Behavior Active movement 39.00 ± 45.74, 16.25 ± 28.03 0.352 1.165 Cleaning 1.00 ± 1.15, 0.25 ± 0.50 Feeding 8.50 ±6.61, 8.00 ± 12.78 Inactivity 21.75 ± 23.87, 10.75 ± 21.50 Territorial/mating 64.50 ± 88.19, 18.75 ± 36.17
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    Implications • Hypothesis partially supported • Birds’ relationships (as exhibited

    by behavior) do change as foundation plant species’ phenology changes. • Infrastructure-creating foundational species influence bird behavior