PhD Gaget Elie and working group (Climate adaptation)

167200 €

Climate warming adaptation for bird conservation

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

Climate warming is one of the most challenging issues for biodiversity conservation, requiring increased management efforts for adaption and mitigation. Increasing landscape connectivity is one way to enable species range expansions in response to climate warming. However, these efforts are mostly irrelevant for species with high dispersal capacities like birds, for which an abundant literature still demonstrate a lag in their response to climate warming. Protected areas are known to facilitate species response to climate warming, but so far, we are ignorant of what actually is the working ingredient that causes protected areas to help species respond to climate change. In other words: What would be the best conservation measures to set up a climate adaptation strategy? This project aims to answer this question at the European level by making an exhaustive cost-effectiveness assessment of the conservation measures useful to facilitate bird species responses to climate warming in Europe, considering conservation priorities and species ecological niches. The power of big data will be leveraged to achieve these objectives, including management practices from 30,000 Natura 2000 protected areas, 40,000 abundance time series of almost 450 bird species across Europe, and thousands conservation plans for protected areas funded under the EU LIFE programme. Using hierarchical modelling based on local abundance time series, we will quantify past and forecast future population changes with regards to interactions between conservation measures and climate warming. Species habitat preferences and niche overlaps will be considered to ensure the biological relevance of the approach. This four years PhD project will be led at the University of Turku, in collaboration with IIASA (Austria). The project will help to set up conservations policies based on the so-called “climate warming adaptation”.