PhD researcher Deshpande Purabi Pramod

108400 €

Plant-bird mutualisms on the move: the ecological consequences of urbanisation and climate-induced changes in bird movements

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

World over, climate change is adversely affecting ecosystems by altering the functioning of natural processes. At a local scale, urbanisation is having a similar effect on natural areas. Both these forces have the potential to modify species interactions that drive biodiversity and ecosystem function. Yet, we know little about the wider ecological consequences of these changing interactions. In this project, I address how changing human-bird-plant interactions may shape future environments. Using long-term datasets collated by LUOMUS and Hanko Bird Observatory, I will investigate if (1) birds move between urban, rural and forest habitats in response to changing environmental factors and whether (2) urban habitats are delaying autumn migrations of birds. I will use Helsinki as a study site to compare birds’ consumption of various fruits available in the city to quantify (3) if these changes in bird migration are increasing the dispersal potential of exotic plants introduced in urban areas. I will also explore changing human-bird-plant interactions in a larger urban centre, Bangalore (India). Here I will (4) explore whether introduced plant species assist avian pollinators to live in cities. Through this project, I aim to draw attention to ecological interactions in the newest habitat on the planet. My results will inform policy to prevent the spread of invasive species from urban centres on one hand and highlight how cities can encourage biodiversity on the other.