Disentangling How Landscape Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity Affects Savanna Birds

Price, Bronwyn, McAlpine, Clive A., Kutt, Alex S., Ward, Doug, Phinn, Stuart R. and Ludwig, John A. (2013) Disentangling How Landscape Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity Affects Savanna Birds. PloS One, 8 9: e74333.1-e74333.11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074333

Author Price, Bronwyn
McAlpine, Clive A.
Kutt, Alex S.
Ward, Doug
Phinn, Stuart R.
Ludwig, John A.
Title Disentangling How Landscape Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity Affects Savanna Birds
Journal name PloS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-09-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0074333
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 9
Start page e74333.1
End page e74333.11
Total pages 12
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In highly seasonal tropical environments, temporal changes in habitat and resources are a significant determinant of the
spatial distribution of species. This study disentangles the effects of spatial and mid to long-term temporal heterogeneity in
habitat on the diversity and abundance of savanna birds by testing four competing conceptual models of varying
complexity. Focussing on sites in northeast Australia over a 20 year time period, we used ground cover and foliage
projected cover surfaces derived from a time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery, rainfall data and site-level
vegetation surveys to derive measures of habitat structure at local (1–100 ha) and landscape (100–1000s ha) scales. We used generalised linear models and an information theoretic approach to test the independent effects of spatial and temporal influences on savanna bird diversity and the abundance of eight species with different life-history behaviours. Of four competing models defining influences on assemblages of savanna birds, the most parsimonious included temporal and spatial variability in vegetation cover and site-scale vegetation structure, suggesting savanna bird species respond to spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity at both the broader landscape scale and at the fine-scale. The relative weight, strength and direction of the explanatory variables changed with each of the eight species, reflecting their different ecology and behavioural traits. This study demonstrates that variations in the spatial pattern of savanna vegetation over periods of 10 to 20 years at the local and landscape scale strongly affect bird diversity and abundance. Thus, it is essential to monitor and manage both spatial and temporal variability in avian habitat to achieve long-term biodiversity outcomes.
Keyword North Eastern Australia
Tropical Savanna
Vertebrate Fauna
Climate Change
Species Distribution
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID DP0667029
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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