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Landscape configuration alters movement behavior and space-use of a Hawaiian forest bird community

November 22, 2023

Habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the greatest threats to ecosystems worldwide. Movement reveals how individuals meet their habitat requirements and respond to environmental heterogeneity, and thus can provide a powerful tool for investigating how animals respond to changes in landscape configuration. In our study, we examined the effects of landscape configuration on the space use and movement strategies of four endemic Hawaiian forest bird species spanning a range of foraging guilds (i.e. frugivore, nectivore, generalist). We used a landscape-level automated radio tracking system to measure location data of 127 individuals tracked on Hawaiʻi Island in a naturally fragmented landscape created by volcanic activity in the mid- to late-1800s and a nearby continuous landscape. We found that landscape configuration had a strong effect on movement patterns and space-use of all four species. In the fragmented landscape, all species predominately occupied a single forest patch, displayed a high degree of area-restricted search behavior, with few long-distance movements away from their primary forest patch. These patterns contrasted significantly with those of conspecifics in the continuous landscape which exhibited relatively unconstrained movements across the forested landscape and had 3- to 12-fold larger home ranges. Our findings indicate that landscape structure plays a strong role in shaping movement behavior of a tropical bird community and provides valuable insights into the behavioral mechanisms that may be important for species to persist within fragmented landscapes.

Publication Year 2024
Title Landscape configuration alters movement behavior and space-use of a Hawaiian forest bird community
DOI 10.1111/jav.03117
Authors Kristina L. Paxton, Jennifer R Smetzer, Patrick J. Hart, Marti J Anderson, Eben H. Paxton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Avian Biology
Index ID 70251077
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center