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Subproject 9: Trait-based spatial community ecology of island birds: crossing scales and ecosystems

Birds as a study system enable integrative approaches across scales and ecosystems. Using birds, subproject 9 (SP9) aims for building a trait-based spatial community ecology of island birds. We will link information on traits and distributions of birds on islands globally and combine them with data on island size and isolation. Thereby, our main objective is to understand the spatial variation in species richness, abundance, traits, and community structure of island birds. To do so, we will use a macroecological approach and thereby extend, together with SP8, the geographical scale of the DynaCom Research Unit to the global level.

Specifically, we will investigate how dispersal and resource acquisition traits shape the structure of bird communities on islands of different areas and degrees of isolation. Furthermore, we will study the relationship between species richness or abundance and resource availability in a joint marine-terrestrial modelling framework.

With our approach, we expect to develop an integrative model for the trait-based spatial community ecology of island birds which crosses spatial scales as well as the marine and terrestrial realm.

 

Examples for the diversity of forms and functions of bird beaks [Photograph: Christian Hof]

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