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Multi-trophic impacts of climate warming in Arctic tundra: from plants, to bugs, to migratory songbirds

Collaborating PIs:

Natalie Boelman, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

Laura Gough, University of Texas, Arlington

John Wingfield, Co-PI University of California, Davis

Team Bird collage

Our project extends beyond changes in vegetation, and considers the cascade of changes that is triggered when Arctic vegetation and seasonality are altered. As highlighted by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), in contrast to plants, the response of animal populations to simulated or current climate change has been drastically understudied in the Alaskan interior and much of the Arctic. We were funded by the US National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs (NSF-OPP) for five years (2010-2014), to study the effects that warming-induced increases in shrub dominance and changing seasonality will have on migratory songbirds in Alaskan Arctic tundra. We are working to identify and characterize the interactions between shrub dominance and weather to determine how these affect food and shelter availability for migratory songbirds. We are taking a mechanistic approach to determining how the reproductive success of populations of two songbirds species (Lapland longspur and Gambel's White-crowned sparrow) respond to variation in both shrub dominance and timing of spring snowmelt. A secondary goal is to develop techniques for monitoring songbird community characteristics via bio-acoustic recordings.


For more information see project's web site:

Multi-trophic impacts of climate warming in Arctic tundra

Access to data collected as part of this project.

Data and Protocols


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs under Grants #ARC 0908444, 0908602, and 0909133. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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