BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 15 (UPI) — University of California-Berkeley biologists say they’ve discovered birds will move if climate change produces unfavorable conditions.
The researchers found 48 of 53 bird species studied in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains adjusted to climate change during the last century by moving to new sites
“In order to conserve biodiversity in the face of future climate change, we need to know how a species actually responds to a warming climate,” said doctoral student Morgan Tingley, the study’s lead author. “Comparing past and present ranges of species that experienced climate change is one of the best ways to gain this knowledge.”
The research, conducted in collaboration with Audubon California, a state program of the National Audubon Society, included data from a survey of 82 sites in the Sierra Nevada and details the changes in birds’ geographic range over the course of a century. The scientists said on average, the sites have seen a 1.4 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature and nearly a quarter of an inch more rainfall during the breeding season since the early 1900s.
The study included Professors Craig Moritz and Steve Beissinger, as well as William Monahan, an Audubon California scientist.
The findings appear in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International