Tue, 02/17/2015 - 3:00pm
Univ. of Adelaide
Univ. of Adelaide researchers are contributing to a large international study aiming to advance the understanding of how different groups of birds tolerate and respond to heat stress.
PhD student and veterinarian Shangzhe Xie and a team from the university’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences are researching the physiological and behavioral mechanisms underlying heat tolerance in wild and captive Australian birds.
“Australian birds are increasingly under threat from extreme weather conditions, and as temperatures continue to rise with climate change, sensitive groups of birds will begin to feel the heat,” says Xie.
“At the moment we are unable to measure the sensitivities of individual bird species to extreme climate events such as heat waves. It’s important we learn more about this as increasingly large numbers of birds die during heatwaves in Australia and overseas,” he says. In a study concluded last summer, Xie and his team measured several physiological parameters, including the evaporative water loss and metabolic rates of Australian desert birds in different temperatures. They found different groups of Australian desert bird species can tolerate heat to different extents.