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Short-term effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico's forest birds


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In September of 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria delivered a devastating one-two punch to Puerto Rico, causing significant defoliation of the island's forests. While the detrimental effects of these storms on human populations was well-documented, little was known about how the island's bird populations were affected - until now. A new paper published in PLOS ONE by Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) and colleagues compares occupancy of birds in forested areas across Puerto Rico during a winter before (2015) and shortly after (2018) the passage of these hurricanes. Using dynamic community models analyzed within a Bayesian framework, the authors find significant changes in species detectability, with some species becoming more readily detected after the storms and others becoming more difficult to detect.

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