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Serengeti IVSustaining biodiversity in a coupled human-natural system$
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Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Kristine L. Metzger, Simon A. R. Mduma, and John M. Fryxell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226195834

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226196336.001.0001

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Bird Diversity of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem

Bird Diversity of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem

Spatial Patterns of Taxonomic and Functional Richness and Turnover

Chapter:
(p.358) (p.359) Thirteen Bird Diversity of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Source:
Serengeti IV
Author(s):

Jill E. Jankowski

Anthony R. E. Sinclair

Kristine L. Metzger

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226196336.003.0013

This analysis of the Serengeti bird fauna reveals communities that are invariably structured according to dominant habitats in this system, principally those that show major differences in structural complexity. Habitat subdivisions, although recognizable by human observers, are less useful in defining bird communities. Richness gradients are also evident across dominant habitats; the effect is that bird communities are nested across short, intermediate, long grass plains, and Acacia savanna, as species representing multiple functional groups accumulate in more structurally complex communities. It is important to remember that this assessment of the Serengeti bird fauna uses a three-year snapshot of diversity and composition; however, precipitation and natural disturbance regimes, which are major factors influencing Serengeti habitats and standing vegetation structure can vary substantially seasonally and across years, such that patterns in diversity and composition observed in our analysis of “typical” wet seasons may be intensified or weakened in other years, for example, during El Niño climate oscillations. An important next step will be to understand how the avian habitat relationships and levels of functional redundancy that we have uncovered in this analysis shift over these climate cycles.

Keywords:   bird fauna, dominant habitats, natural disturbance, avian habitat

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