3 years ago

A positive relationship between spring temperature and productivity in 20 songbird species in the boreal zone

Anssi V. Vähätalo, Markus Piha, Kalle Meller, Aleksi Lehikoinen

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate warming has already affected the population dynamics of numerous species and is predicted to do so also in the future. To predict the effects of climate change, it is important to know whether productivity is linked to temperature, and whether species’ traits affect responses to climate change. To address these objectives, we analysed monitoring data from the Finnish constant effort site ringing scheme collected in 1987–2013 for 20 common songbird species together with climatic data. Warm spring temperature had a positive linear relationship with productivity across the community of 20 species independent of species’ traits (realized thermal niche or migration behaviour), suggesting that even the warmest spring temperatures remained below the thermal optimum for reproduction, possibly due to our boreal study area being closer to the cold edge of all study species’ distributions. The result also suggests a lack of mismatch between the timing of breeding and peak availability of invertebrate food of the study species. Productivity was positively related to annual growth rates in long-distance migrants, but not in short-distance migrants. Across the 27-year study period, temporal trends in productivity were mostly absent. The population sizes of species with colder thermal niches had decreasing trends, which were not related to temperature responses or temporal trends in productivity. The positive connection between spring temperature and productivity suggests that climate warming has potential to increase the productivity in bird species in the boreal zone, at least in the short term.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-017-4053-7

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-017-4053-7

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