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Data from: Thermal adaptation best explains Bergmann's and Allen's rule across ecologically diverse shorebirds

Citation

McQueen, Alexandra et al. (2022), Data from: Thermal adaptation best explains Bergmann's and Allen's rule across ecologically diverse shorebirds, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.xsj3tx9j5

Abstract

Bergmann’s and Allen’s rules state that endotherms should be larger and have shorter appendages in cooler climates.  However, the drivers of these rules are not clear. Both rules could be explained by adaptation for improved thermoregulation, including plastic responses to temperature in early life. Non-thermal explanations are also plausible as climate impacts other factors that influence size and shape, including starvation risk, predation risk, and foraging ecology. We assess the potential drivers of Bergmann’s and Allen’s rules in 30 shorebird species using extensive field data (>200,000 observations). We show birds in hot, tropical northern Australia have longer bills and smaller bodies than conspecifics in temperate, southern Australia, conforming with both ecogeographical rules. This pattern is consistent across ecologically diverse species, including migratory birds that spend early life in the Arctic. Our findings best support the hypothesis that thermoregulatory adaptation to warm climates drives latitudinal patterns in shorebird size and shape. 

Usage Notes

Data are available as an excel file. For full details of methods with justifications and analyses please see McQueen et al. (2022) Nature Communications. Please also cite that reference if you use these data.

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: DP190101244

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

World Wildlife Fund

MAVA Foundation