Understanding the implications of climate change for birds of the family Phasianidae: incorporating fleshy structures into models of heat dissipation capacity

Smith, Megan L. (2015) Understanding the implications of climate change for birds of the family Phasianidae: incorporating fleshy structures into models of heat dissipation capacity. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Richard Buchholz from Biology, University of Mississippi.

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Abstract

Though widespread acceptance of global warming has generated a plethora of studies evaluating the potential responses of species to increased temperatures, until recently, species and genus-specific studies were not common and for many taxa such studies have yet to be completed. One particularly understudied group in this regard is the avian order Galliformes. In this study, I focus on the tribe Phasianidae. Furthermore, most studies evaluating the potential range changes of species in response to a changing climate fail to account for the ability of organisms to adapt to the changing climatic conditions, either via plastic adaptations or genetic adaptations. Galliformes often have fleshy structures, or bare patches of skin, which may play an important role in heat dissipation and could be of important evolutionary value if the climate continues to warm. Fleshy structures were measured for all species for which images were available using ImageJ, and ranges were characterized by their current and predicted future bioclimatic variables using ArcGIS and range maps available from BirdLife and NatureServe. Models for predicting maximal heat dissipation capacity were modified to incorporate fleshy structures (FS). Multiple regressions were used to evaluate the relationships between FS and bioclimatic variables, and t-tests and Chi-squared tests were used to compare means and nominal data, respectively. I found that ranges will be significantly altered and heat dissipation capacity will be significantly diminished by 2070. Though some evidence supports the importance of FS in heat dissipation, this support is equivocal, and the topic warrants further investigation.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Smith, Megan L.
Student's Degree Program(s): B.S. in Biology, B.A. in English
Thesis Advisor: Richard Buchholz
Thesis Advisor's Department: Biology
Institution: University of Mississippi
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QP Physiology
Depositing User: Megan L. Smith
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 16:52
Last Modified: 07 May 2015 16:52
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/384

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