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  1. Responses of wildlife to climate change are typically quantified at the species level, but physiological evidence suggests significant intraspecific variation in thermal sensitivity given adaptation to local environments and plasticity required to adjust to seasonal environments. Spatial and temporal variation in thermal responses may carry important implications for climate change vulnerability; for instance, sensitivity to extreme weather may increase in specific regions or seasons. Here, we leverage high-resolution observational data from eBird to understand regional and seasonal variation in thermal sensitivity for 21 bird species. Across their ranges, most birds demonstrated regional and seasonal variation in both thermal peak and range, or the temperature and range of temperatures when observations peaked. Some birds demonstrated constant thermal peaks or ranges across their geographical distributions, while others varied according to local and current environmental conditions. Across species, birds typically demonstrated either geographical or seasonal adaptation to climate. Local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity are likely important but neglected aspects of organismal responses to climate change.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 8, 2024
  2. The conversion of forest to agriculture is considered one of the greatest threats to avian biodiversity, yet how species respond to habitat modification throughout the annual cycle remains unknown. We examined whether forest bird associations with agricultural habitats vary throughout the year, and if species traits influence these relationships. Using data from the eBird community‐science program, we investigated associations between agriculturally‐modified land cover and the occurrence of 238 forest bird species based on three sets of avian traits: migratory strategy, dietary guild, and foraging strategy. We found that the influence of agriculturally‐modified land cover on species distributions varied widely across periods and trait groups but highlighting several broad findings. First, migratory species showed strong seasonal differences in their response to agricultural land cover while resident species did not. Second, there was a migratory strategy by season interaction; Neotropical migrants were most negatively influenced by agricultural land cover during the breeding period while short‐distance migrants were most negatively influenced during the non‐breeding period. Third, regardless of season, some dietary (e.g. insectivores) and foraging guilds (e.g. bark foragers) consistently responded more negatively to agricultural land cover than others (e.g. omnivores and ground foragers, respectively). Fourth, there were greater differences among dietary guilds in their responses to agricultural land cover during the breeding period than during the non‐breeding period, perhaps reflecting how different habitat and ecological requirements enhance the susceptibility of some guilds during reproduction. These results suggest that management efforts across the annual cycle may be oversimplified and thus ineffective when based on broad ecological generalisations that are static in space and time.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Effective solutions to conserve biodiversity require accurate community‐ and species‐level information at relevant, actionable scales and across entire species' distributions. However, data and methodological constraints have limited our ability to provide such information in robust ways. Herein we employ a Deep‐Reasoning Network implementation of the Deep Multivariate Probit Model (DMVP‐DRNets), an end‐to‐end deep neural network framework, to exploit large observational and environmental data sets together and estimate landscape‐scale species diversity and composition at continental extents. We present results from a novel year‐round analysis of North American avifauna using data from over nine million eBird checklists and 72 environmental covariates. We highlight the utility of our information by identifying critical areas of high species diversity for a single group of conservation concern, the North American wood warblers, while capturing spatiotemporal variation in species' environmental associations and interspecific interactions. In so doing, we demonstrate the type of accurate, high‐resolution information on biodiversity that deep learning approaches such as DMVP‐DRNets can provide and that is needed to inform ecological research and conservation decision‐making at multiple scales.

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