Ecologically relevant traits of organisms in an assemblage determine an ecosystem’s functional fingerprint (i.e., the shape, size, and position of multidimensional trait space). Quantifying changes in functional fingerprints can therefore provide information about the effects of diversity loss or gain through time on ecosystem condition and is a promising approach to monitoring ecological integrity.
A check-up on the genomic health of the Colombian avifauna: Forest loss and fragmentation have dominated the contemporary history of the Colombian landscape. While this has resulted in complex patterns of colonization and local extinction, thankfully, most of the species found by the historical AMNH expeditions still persist at the localities they visited. Nonetheless, these species are still at risk. Small population sizes and lack of genetic intermingling due to habitat fragmentation are predicted to harm their genetic viability. To assess the genetic and evolutionary repercussions of landscape change, we are conducting comparisons of genomic variation between the historical and modern populations of a diverse suite of species representative of the richness of the Colombian avifauna.
Temporal variation in the connectivity of populations of migratory animals has not been widely documented, despite having important repercussions for population ecology and conservation. Because the long-distance movements of migratory animals link ecologically distinct and geographically distant areas of the world, changes in the abundance and migratory patterns of species may reflect differential drivers of demographic trends acting over various spatial scales.