Niche conservatism in peripheral bird populations.
Santander-UCM. PR26/16-2004. 2017-2018; Awarded to Jose Luis Telleria (9.000 €)
Human interventions on the planet are modifying environmental conditions that impact species distribution. Species often do not survive in the most modified habitats (niche conservatism). However, they can also adapt to new conditions. This flexibility can be a good indicator of their resilience to environmental change. In this project, we study the niche of several birds of prey (orders Falconidae) in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb. The idea is to analyse whether the populations based in Morocco, on the periphery of their distribution area and in an increasingly arid environment, are located within the exact environmental conditions as the Iberian population (conservatism). Alternatively, they have become more flexible in their preferences to occupy more thermal sectors. The results obtained in this extreme region may be of interest in order to predict the future species response to climate change in more northerly environments (Iberian Peninsula) and adopt management decisions according to their ability to avoid its effects.