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Smaller-ranged species more vulnerable to disruptions in their food source

Cara J

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The smaller a species’ range, the pickier they are in terms of food sources, according to a new study on hummingbirds in the Americas. These findings mean that species that already face an elevated threat from habitat destruction or climate change could also be more vulnerable to disruptions in their food source than species with more general tastes. “They’re even more vulnerable than you would think based on range sizes,” said Bo Dalsgaard, an assistant professor at the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen and the senior author of a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “They’re also vulnerable in terms of food specialization.” Conservationists have long focused attention on species with small ranges in the belief that such wildlife will have more difficulty adapting to change when climate change, humans, or invasive species encroach on their habitats than species with large ranges. But this research shows that these species may be doubly vulnerable since these smaller-ranging species also tend to have a more specialized diet. This focus on fewer food sources means that these species are also vulnerable to food loss in these areas. Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis). ©Jesper [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/smaller-ranged-species-more-vulnerable-to-disruptions-in-their-food-source/

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