Birds in a changing climate
Climate change is rapidly becoming the major threat to biodiversity globally, and birds are no exception. For the past ten years, the Hot Birds Research Project team, led by Dr Susie Cunningham at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, and her collaborator Prof Andrew McKechnie at the University of Pretoria, have been working to find out how climate warming will affect the birds of hot deserts globally. Together with our talented students and post-docs (over half of whom are women) we have learnt an enormous amount about the thermal physiology of birds, how they cope with rising temperatures, and the limits of their tolerance. We’ve discovered avian ‘superheros’ and also species that are uniquely vulnerable, and we’ve begun to understand some of the facets of why. We’ve also learned that the behaviour of birds can be as important as their physiology in shaping how they cope (or don’t cope) with high temperatures, and that behavioural changes for keeping cool carry costs that could reverberate through ecosystems. Join this final webinar in the Women’s Month series to learn about the cutting edge findings of the Hot Birds Research Project team and how they can help us plan for conservation in a warming world.