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Biomass, abundances, and abundance and geographical range size relationship of birds along a rainforest elevational gradient in Papua New Guinea.


ABSTRACT: The usually positive inter-specific relationship between geographical range size and the abundance of local bird populations comes with exceptions. On continents, the majority of these exceptions have been described from tropical montane areas in Africa, where geographically-restricted bird species are unusually abundant. We asked how the local abundances of passerine and non-passerine bird species along an elevational gradient on Mt. Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea relate to their geographical range size. We collected data on bird assemblages at eight elevations (200-3,700 m, at 500 m elevational increments). We used a standardized point-counts at 16 points at each elevational study site. We partitioned the birds into feeding guilds, and we obtained data on geographical range sizes from the Bird-Life International data zone. We observed a positive relationship between abundance and geographical range size in the lowlands. This trend changed to a negative one towards higher elevations. The total abundances of the assemblage showed a hump-shaped pattern along the elevational gradient, with passerine birds, namely passerine insectivores, driving the observed pattern. In contrast to abundances, the mean biomass of the bird assemblages decreased with increasing elevation. Our results show that montane bird species maintain dense populations which compensate for the decreased available area near the top of the mountain.

SUBMITTER: Sam K 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7457928 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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