Birds of high elevations face unique challenges that has shaped their evolutionary ecology, and will influence their persistence in future decades.
Our research on this topic grew out of interest on the selective forces that lead to altitudinal migration behavior in tropical and temperate birds, as well as in bats. In collaboration with Kathy Martin at UBC, we’ve found that high-elevation living has predictable consequences for life histories, with high elevation populations having lower fecundity, but not consistently higher survival than their lower-elevation counterparts. Additionally, around the globe, high-elevation populations have shorter breeding seasons which, in temperate areas in intuitive, but at low latitudes, is intriguing.
High elevation bird communities in British Columbia are also surprisingly diverse, and alpine areas are under-appreciated and potentially critical stop-over areas during fall migration for high-latitude breeding birds of multiple guilds.