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Seasonal rainfall in subtropical montane cloud forests drives demographic fluctuations in a Green-backed Tit population

Citation

Shiao, Ming-Tang; Chuang, Mei-Chen; Yuan, Hsiao-Wei; Wang, Ying (2021), Seasonal rainfall in subtropical montane cloud forests drives demographic fluctuations in a Green-backed Tit population, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.37pvmcvh0

Abstract

Montane birds are vulnerable to climate change. However, the mechanisms by which weather drives demographic processes in montane birds have seldom been investigated. We conducted a long-term study (2009–2019) on the Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus), an insectivorous passerine, in the montane cloud forest of subtropical Taiwan. We explored the effects of weather variability on the productivity and survival of adult Green-backed Tits. Nest survival was negatively associated with seasonal rainfall during the breeding season (April–July) and was lower in early clutches than in late clutches. Higher typhoon-induced precipitation during the postbreeding period (July–September) was related to reduced adult survival, but neither summer temperature nor winter weather conditions were found to be related to adult bird survival. We developed a stochastic simulation model for Green-backed Tit population dynamics based on empirical data. We compared the simulated time-series and observed population growth rates (λ) and found that 80% (8/10 yr) of the observed λ fell within the 5th and 95th percentiles of the simulated data over the 10-yr period. Moreover, the simulated average (± standard deviation) of the geometric mean of λ over 10 yr (1.05 ± 0.07) was close to that observed from 2009–2019 (0.99), which provided confidence that the model effectively simulated the population growth rate of the Green-backed Tit. We conducted a sensitivity analysis for λ, and found that juvenile and adult survival influenced by typhoon-induced rainfall were the greatest contributors to the variance in the growth rate of the Green-backed Tit population. With the onset of intensified seasonal precipitation associated with global warming, the population growth and density of Green-backed Tits will decline substantially. Our results suggest that under scenarios of high emissions of greenhouse gas, this local population of Green-backed Tits will not persist in the near future.

Funding

Shei-Pa National Park Headquarters

Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Award: 100-2313-B-002-028

Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Award: 102-2313-B-002-034

Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Award: 101-2313- B-002-031

Shei-Pa National Park Headquarters