Citation: Sandvik, H. (2006) Interspecific comparative analyses of demographic responsiveness to climatic variability: seabirds as a model system [abstract of a talk given at the 36th Annual Conference of the GfÖ in Bremen]. Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft für Ökologie, 36, 4.

Abstract: Documentation is accumulating from both terrestrial and aquatic animals that climatic variability exerts effects on morphological, demographic and other parameters. However, thus far many studies merely report whether or not or how strongly a set of biological parameters co-varies with climatic parameters. The underlying causes are often far more poorly understood. This is so partly because most studies centre on the population level. In addition to descriptive studies of this kind, one should therefore aim at understanding why species differ in their responses. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to carry out interspecific comparative studies.
    I report findings from phylogenetic-comparative analyses of seabirds. The objective was to document and explain between-species differences in responsiveness of demographic rates to climatic variability. Seabirds offer some unique opportunities for the analysis of causal links: they share a marine environment, while at the same time exhibiting an amazing variation in trophic relations, behavioural traits, life-history tactics and geographic distributions. A database was compiled using published demographic long-term data from all taxa of seabirds. The analysis of this database yields insights in how ecology, life history and phylogeny of species affect the response of their vital rates to climatic oscillations.

Related publications: Elaborations of this talk appeared in Ecography, Global Change Biology and Marine Ecology Progress Series.


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