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Study of 99% of all living bird species

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Agami agami. Credit: Joe Tobias

Bird species with extreme or unusual combinations of traits are at highest risk of extinction, according to a new study.Findings are published in the journal functional ecology.

A new study led by researchers at Imperial College London has found that the most unique birds on earth are most threatened. Losing these species and the unique role they play in the environment. seed dispersalpollination and predation can have serious consequences for ecosystem functioning.

This study analyzes extinction risk and physical attributes (such as beak shape and wing length) covers 99% of all extant bird species, making it the most comprehensive study to date.

The researchers found that simulated scenarios in which all critically endangered and near-threatened birds were extinct reduced the physical (or morphological) diversity of birds more than random extinction scenarios. found to be significantly reduced.

Morphologically unique and endangered birds include frigatebirds (Fregata andrewsi), which nest only on Christmas Island, and bristle peach (Numenius tahitiensis), which migrates from Christmas Island. breeding ground Annually from Alaska to the islands of the South Pacific.

The most unique and endangered bird on earth

Bryce’s Kingfisher (Alcedo Hercules). Credit: Joe Tobias

Jarom Ali, a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, who completed his studies at Imperial College London and is the study’s lead author, said, “Our study aims to eliminate the majority of endemic species from bird trees. Losing these endemic species means losing the special role they play in the ecosystem.

“If we don’t take action to protect endangered species Avoiding extinction would dramatically disrupt ecosystem function. ”

In this study, the authors used a dataset of a total of 9943 measurements collected from live bird and museum specimens. bird seedMeasurements included physical characteristics such as beak size and shape, wings, tail, and leg length.

The authors combined morphological data and extinction risk based on the current threat status of species on the IUCN Red List. We then ran a simulation of what would happen if the most endangered birds went extinct.

The most unique and endangered bird on earth

Bristle Curlew (Numenius tahitiensis). Credit: Joe Tobias

Although the dataset used in this study was able to show that the most unique birds were classified as threatened on the Red List, it is difficult to demonstrate the link between bird uniqueness and extinction risk. I could not do it.

“One possibility is that highly specialized organisms are less able to adapt to changing environments,” said Jaromé Ali. Human impact It can directly threaten species with the most unusual ecological roles. Further research is needed to delve deeper into the relationship between endemic traits and extinction risk. ”

For more information:
Jarome Ali et al. Bird extinction threatens to disproportionately reduce functional diversity and uniqueness. functional ecology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.14201

Quote: The Most Unique Birds on Earth at Highest Risk of Extinction: A Study of 99% of All Living Bird Species Taken from news/2022-11-planet-unique-birds-higher-extinction.html

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