Bird species migration ratio in East Asia, Australia, and surrounding islands
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- Kuo, Y., Lin, DL., Chuang, FM. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2013) 100: 729. doi:10.1007/s00114-013-1069-7
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Bird migration and its relationship with the contemporary environment have attracted long-term discussion. We calculated the avian migration ratio (the proportion of breeding species that migrate) in the areas from 70°E to 180°E and examined its relationship with the annual ranges of ambient temperature, primary productivity (estimated by the Enhanced Vegetation Index), and precipitation, along with island isolation and elevational range. The avian migration ratio increased with increasing latitude in general but varied greatly between the two hemispheres. Additionally, it showed minimal differences between continents and islands. Our analyses revealed that the seasonality of ambient temperature, which represents the energy expenditure of birds, is the dominant factor in determining bird species migration. Seasonality in primary productivity and other environmental factors play an indirect or limited role in bird species migration. The lower avian migration ratio in the Southern Hemisphere can be attributed to its paleogeographical isolation, stable paleoclimate, and warm contemporary environment. Under current trends of global warming, our findings should lead to further studies of the impact of warming on bird migration.