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Equivalent roles of marine subsidies and island characteristics in shaping island bird communities


Obrist, Debora S; Hanly, Patrick J; Kennedy, Jeremiah C; Fitzpatrick, Owen T; Wickham, Sara B; Nijland, Wiebe; Reshitnyk, Luba Y; Darimont, Chris T; Starzomski, Brian M; Reynolds, John D (2024). Equivalent roles of marine subsidies and island characteristics in shaping island bird communities. Journal of Biogeography, 51(1):40-53.

Abstract

AimSpecies distributions across islands are shaped by dispersal limitations, environmental filters and biotic interactions but the relative influence of each of these processes has rarely been assessed. Here, we examine the relative contributions of island characteristics, marine subsidies, species traits, and species interactions on avian community composition.LocationCentral Coast region of British Columbia, Canada.TaxonTerrestrial breeding birds.MethodsWe observed 3610 individuals of 32 bird species on 89 islands that spanned multiple orders of magnitude in area (0.0002–3 km$^{2}$). We fit a spatially explicit joint species distribution model to estimate the relative contributions of island physical characteristics, island‐specific inputs of marine subsidies, species' traits, and biotic interactions on species distributions. Biogeographic characteristics included island area, isolation, and habitat heterogeneity, while marine influence was represented by forest‐edge soil δ$^{15}$N, wrack biomass, shoreline substrate, and distance to shore. This approach also allowed us to estimate how much variation in distributions resulted from species' biological traits (i.e. body mass, feeding guild, feeding height, and nesting height).ResultsBird species distributions were determined almost equivalently by island biogeographic characteristics (23.5% of variation explained) and marine influence (24.8%). We detected variation in species‐specific responses to both island biogeographic characteristics and marine influence, but no significant effect of any biological trait examined. Additionally, we found evidence that habitat preferences were a more important driver than competitive interactions.Main ConclusionsAlthough most island biogeographic studies focus only on islands' physical characteristics, we found evidence for an equivalent role of marine subsidy in structuring island bird communities. Our study suggests that for small islands, disentangling the effects of island biogeographic characteristics, marine inputs, and biotic interactions is a useful next step in understanding species distributions.

Abstract

AimSpecies distributions across islands are shaped by dispersal limitations, environmental filters and biotic interactions but the relative influence of each of these processes has rarely been assessed. Here, we examine the relative contributions of island characteristics, marine subsidies, species traits, and species interactions on avian community composition.LocationCentral Coast region of British Columbia, Canada.TaxonTerrestrial breeding birds.MethodsWe observed 3610 individuals of 32 bird species on 89 islands that spanned multiple orders of magnitude in area (0.0002–3 km$^{2}$). We fit a spatially explicit joint species distribution model to estimate the relative contributions of island physical characteristics, island‐specific inputs of marine subsidies, species' traits, and biotic interactions on species distributions. Biogeographic characteristics included island area, isolation, and habitat heterogeneity, while marine influence was represented by forest‐edge soil δ$^{15}$N, wrack biomass, shoreline substrate, and distance to shore. This approach also allowed us to estimate how much variation in distributions resulted from species' biological traits (i.e. body mass, feeding guild, feeding height, and nesting height).ResultsBird species distributions were determined almost equivalently by island biogeographic characteristics (23.5% of variation explained) and marine influence (24.8%). We detected variation in species‐specific responses to both island biogeographic characteristics and marine influence, but no significant effect of any biological trait examined. Additionally, we found evidence that habitat preferences were a more important driver than competitive interactions.Main ConclusionsAlthough most island biogeographic studies focus only on islands' physical characteristics, we found evidence for an equivalent role of marine subsidy in structuring island bird communities. Our study suggests that for small islands, disentangling the effects of island biogeographic characteristics, marine inputs, and biotic interactions is a useful next step in understanding species distributions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 January 2024
Deposited On:30 Oct 2023 15:20
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:39
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0305-0270
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14728
Project Information:
  • : FunderFisheries and Oceans Canada
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  • : FunderMitacs
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  • : FunderNatural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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  • : FunderTula Foundation
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  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)