Volume 1 Issue 1
Mar.  2010
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Peng LI, Ping DING, Kenneth J. FEELEY, Jingcheng ZHANG, Pingping JIANG. 2010: Patterns of species diversity and functional diversity of breeding birds in Hangzhou across an urbanization gradient. Avian Research, 1(1): 1-8. doi: 10.5122/cbirds.2009.0020
Citation: Peng LI, Ping DING, Kenneth J. FEELEY, Jingcheng ZHANG, Pingping JIANG. 2010: Patterns of species diversity and functional diversity of breeding birds in Hangzhou across an urbanization gradient. Avian Research, 1(1): 1-8. doi: 10.5122/cbirds.2009.0020

Patterns of species diversity and functional diversity of breeding birds in Hangzhou across an urbanization gradient

doi: 10.5122/cbirds.2009.0020
Funds:

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30670344) and the Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Forestry and Water Resources.

  • Received Date: 28 Nov 2009
  • Given the rapid rise in human population and increasing urbanization, it is important to understand their potential impacts on biodiversity. From March 2007 to August 2007, we conducted bird surveys in 90 strip transects, each 3 km long and 100 m wide, along a gradient of urbanization in Hangzhou, China. This gradient spanned a range of urbanization levels including urban areas, rural-urban continuum areas, farming areas, mixed forest/farming areas and forested areas. We recorded 96 breeding bird species and classified them into nine functional groups based on nesting requirements. The nine functional groups consisted of canopy nesters, shrub nesters, canopy/shrub nesters, natural cavity nesters, building nesters, natural cavity/building nesters, ground nesters, water surface nesters and parasitic nesters. Species and functional diversities were estimated based on the Shannon-Wiener index. Environmental data of each transect as human disturbance, vegetation cover and building index were also measured, and a synthetic urbanization index of each transect was introduced based on these data. We used regression analyses to model the relationship of species abundance, species diversity, functional abundance and functional diversity with this synthetic index. The results show that urbanization significantly reduces species richness, species diversity, functional richness and functional diversity, but the specific patterns differed. The relationship between species abundance/species diversity and urbanization is linear. In contrast, the relationship between functional diversity and urbanization was quadratic. In other words, with increased urbanization, functional diversity declined only slightly at first but then dropped at an accelerating rate. This implies that, although moderate urbanization reduces species diversity of breeding birds, it affects functional diversity of breeding birds only slightly in Hangzhou. The regression analysis of species diversity and functional diversity suggests a quadratic relationship between species diversity and functional diversity, i.e., a linear relationship between species diversity and functional diversity can only exist at low diversity levels across urbanization gradients and increasing species abundance does not lead to an increase in functional diversity at the highest diversity levels.

     

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