Birds and Macrosystems: Three

marce profile flathead lake 2018
Humans, like migratory birds, travel the world, connect ecosystems

Macrosystems are ecological systems that are studied at large spatial scales (greater than 10^2 km2 ) and large temporal scales (measured in decades to millennia). The macrorivers project studies rivers at these large geographic and temporal scales. Birds often migrate, connecting disparate regions of watersheds in ways no other type of animal has until humans began long-distance travel. The birds and macrosystems series provides digital tours on aquatic birds, on their biology, ecosystem, and the biomechanics of flights. The tours are produced by students from Embry Riddle Aeronautical Universitywho worked under the direction of Dr. Sally Blomstrom in collaboration with Dr. Barbara Hayford of Tethysphere. Here is an overview of Macrosystems:

Scale interaction
Macrosystems are studied are large scales but the interactions within and between scales my affect birds as they migrate

The third bird profiled in this series is the western grebe.

Western grebe
Photo by Dominic Sherony, via creative commons

As the western grebe flies along is migration path, it may carry algae and macroinvertebrates from one part of a watershed to another or across many different watersheds. Why is this important? Well, the birds mix biota at different interactive scales. Something that more researchers study today, as ecosystem science becomes global.

For more information:

Cornell Ornithology Lab

Heffernan, James B., Patricia A. Soranno, Michael J. Angilletta Jr, Lauren B. Buckley, Daniel S. Gruner, Tim H. Keitt, James R. Kellner et al. “Macrosystems ecology: understanding ecological patterns and processes at continental scales.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment12, no. 1 (2014): 5-14.



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