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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Forest Assemblages Predict Avian Assemblages Better Than Vegetation Structure in Southern Ohio’s Central Hardwoods

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AUTHORS: Bryce T. Adams, Stephen N. Matthews* – School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Determining the factors that influence avian resource utilization and community structure is important for adequate conservation planning. Early work identifying the importance of vegetation structure has advanced our understanding of the factors that constrain species distributions and structure faunal communities. However, recent experimental work has reinvigorated an interest in the role of plant species per se. Aggregating the responses of individual bird species to individual plant species to the community level and providing a quantification of prediction levels into a single metric that is comparable to one based on vegetation structure has long been overdue. Using the newly developed predictive co-correspondence analysis and a predictive variant of canonical correspondence analysis, we did just that, and examined the relative importance of plant species composition and vegetation structure for the community assembly of forest birds. We sampled the composition of avian (passerines) and plant (woody stems) assemblages, as well as quantified vegetation structure with high resolution LiDAR scanning, across structurally- (open to closed) and compositionally-complex forest plots (n = 210) located in the Central Hardwoods Forest Region of southern Ohio. Detailed plant composition data was a significantly better predictor set of bird species composition over comprehensive structural metrics that thoroughly detailed the height and vertical profiling of the forest habitat. In fact, prediction levels based on the best plant composition perspective (10.94% cross-validatory fit) were almost twice as greater than those based on vegetation structure (6.44%). This is likely because plants are a more comprehensive predictor – both descriptive of the environment, including aspects of vegetation structure and site conditions, and mechanistic with regards to individual bird-plant relationships. These results indicate that detailed information on plant species is needed in better accounting for the variation in avian diversity important in guiding sound management strategies and predicting the risk of future climate effects.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

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