Life on the move: effects of changing seasonal dynamics on migratory birds

Kasper Thorup (1)

(1)Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate; Natural History Museum of Denmark; University of Copenhagen; Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen; Denmark. kthorup@snm.ku.dk, @Kasper_Thorup

Regular long-distance migration in birds and many other animals is generally an adaptation to predictable seasonal changes of resources. How migrating birds adjust their migration to fit these changes is poorly understood both at the species and at the individual level, and revealing the importance of timing remain a major challenge. While climate projections most often focus on general patterns it is clear that for migrants the within-year changes, i.e. how seasons are affected, are more relevant with potential mismatching between resources and birds’ occurrence in the future. New technology has enabled precise mapping of migration for small birds. Here, we investigate for three Palearctic-African species how their spatio-temporal migration patterns fit end-of-century projections of seasonal vegetation and local peaks greenness. We investigate whether there are general trends across species and use simulations to indicate whether slightly changed schedules will still allow birds’ spatiotemporal programmes to fit the projected seasonal vegetation changes. The results are important for predicting ecological and evolutionary effects of future global climate changes on migratory birds.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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