Wisconsin Wildlife Project
Vulnerability of Hawaiian forest birds to climate change
September 2012 - June 2016
- Cliimate change
The introduced mosquito vector and avian malaria are considered to be primary factors contributing to population declines and changes in the distribution of many native Hawaiian forest birds. Avian malaria dynamics is strongly influenced by climatic components (rainfall and temperature) and successful conservation of the Hawaiian avifauna requires strategies that consider future disease risk posed by climate change. Key objectives of our research will be to evaluate predicted temporal and spatial changes in avian malaria as a result of anticipated climatic changes, evaluate the potential for additional species extinctions, consider genetic adaptation to malaria, and evaluate the effectiveness and costs of conservation strategies to mitigate anticipated population impacts. This project will provide the first quantitative assessment of the long-term impact of climate change on avian malaria distribution and impacts on endemic Hawaiian forest birds, and provide a crucial tool to adaptively manage population recovery and promote disease resistance.