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Drivers of the changing abundance of European birds at two spatial scales

Gregory, Richard; Eaton, Mark A.; Burfield, Ian; Grice, Philip V.; Howard, Christine; Klvaňová, Alena; Stephens, Philip; Willis, Stephen; Woodward, Ian D.; Burns, Fiona

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Authors

Richard Gregory

Mark A. Eaton

Ian Burfield

Philip V. Grice

Alena Klvaňová

Ian D. Woodward

Fiona Burns



Abstract

Detecting biodiversity change and identifying its causes is challenging because biodiversity is multifaceted and temporal data often contain bias. Here, we model temporal change in species' abundance and biomass by using extensive data describing the population sizes and trends of native breeding birds in the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). In addition, we explore how species’ population trends vary with species’ traits. We demonstrate significant change in the bird assemblages of the UK and EU, with substantial reductions in overall bird abundance and losses concentrated in a relatively small number of abundant and smaller sized species. In contrast, rarer and larger birds had generally fared better. Simultaneously, overall avian biomass had increased very slightly in the UK and was stable in the EU, indicating a change in community structure. Abundance trends across species were positively correlated with species’ body mass and with trends in climate suitability, and varied with species’ abundance, migration strategy, and niche associations linked to diet. Our work highlights how changes in biodiversity cannot be captured easily by a single number; care is required when measuring and interpreting biodiversity change given that different metrics can provide very different insights

Citation

Gregory, R., Eaton, M. A., Burfield, I., Grice, P. V., Howard, C., Klvaňová, A., …Burns, F. (2023). Drivers of the changing abundance of European birds at two spatial scales. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 378(1881), Article 20220198. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2022.0198

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2023
Online Publication Date May 29, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 4, 2023
Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Print ISSN 0962-8436
Electronic ISSN 1471-2970
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 378
Issue 1881
Article Number 20220198
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2022.0198

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