MSc Couet Josephine

120000 €

Understanding altitudinal shifts in avian communities under climate change: implications for conservation (Vuoristolajit muuttuvassa ilmastossa: korkeussiirtymien mekanismit luonnonsuojelun tukena)

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

My PhD project aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying altitudinal shifts of species in Europe and the conservation implications of such shifts. Climate change has caused shifts in species’ ranges towards higher latitudes and altitudes. In Europe, common mountain bird species are declining. My first thesis chapter unveiled an overall range shift to higher altitudes, and this shift was particularly fast for short-lived species (Oecologia, resubmitted). However, how these broad patterns across life history translate into population demography is still to be studied. Mountain species are at a particularly high risk under climate change due to mountain topography that decreases the amount of potential land area when species move uphill. If we can evaluate where and which species are most vulnerable to climate change, management and conservation can be targeted most efficiently. Thus, conducting my planned PhD project will provide important evidence on the mechanisms of species’ altitudinal range shifts, and deliver evidence-based solutions, e.g. with regards to which species and areas should be prioritised for conservation, via the establishment or improved management of protected areas, or species-specific conservation measures. My thesis will be divided into four chapters covering large-scale community level analyses of altitudinal shifts, the role of macro- and micro-climate and human land use on shifts and conservation prioritisation of mountain species across Europe.