posted by news on october 28, 2015 - 6:30pm
Rare birds living in Hawaii's higher elevation forests may lose more than 50% of their habitat under climate shifts projected by the end of the century, according to a study published October 28, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lucas Fortini from the U.S. Geological Survey and colleagues.
Scientists have observed that Hawaiian forest birds have been threatened for many years due to habitat loss and disease. The most vulnerable populations have survived in Hawaii's higher elevation forests, where native vegetation persists and cool temperatures limit mosquitos that carry diseases, like avian malaria. Scientists predict that global climate change may drive up temperatures in Hawaii, allowing mosquitos into this high elevation habitat. The authors of this study use a species sightings database, regional climate projections, and distribution models to elucidate the impacts of potential climate shifts on the ranges of 20 Hawaiian forest bird species.