Daily dilemmas in hot habitats: revealing how birds adjust their behaviour to adapt to climatic extremes”

Project: PhD

Project Details


The world’s climate is changing at an unprecedented rate. Most notable and threatening to biodiversity is the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather, such as heat and drought, putting pressure on animal populations globally. From a fundamental and conservation perspective, it is of urgent importance to determine whether and how animals are resilient enough to overcome the every-day challenges for survival and reproduction that are induced by such rapid change in climate. The behaviour of animals, and specifically their movement, is central to this, as movement is key for resource acquisition and raising offspring. In this project I therefore aim to reveal whether and how a set of model bird species in a subtropical arid savanna ecosystem cope behaviourally with extreme temperatures immediately and in the longer term. I will do so by determining the flexibility in behaviour during the highly demanding reproductive period. Specifically, I will integrate measurements on reproductive effort, body condition and movement, derived from state-of the-art tracking technology, with experimental approaches on foraging strategies and risk taking under highly fluctuating climatic and environmental conditions in an established ecological and behavioural research programme in Mbuluzi Game Reserve in Eswatini. The results will reveal how individuals adjust their behaviour to short-term and long-term fluctuations in their environment, and whether such strategies are adaptive. These insights will be instrumental for revealing how resilient species are in coping with rapid climate warming. This in turn is vital for effective management, especially to develop concise strategies for animal conservation.
Effective start/end date31/12/22 → …


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