Ecological Connectivity and Seasonal Habitat Use: Understanding Hummingbird Altitudinal Movement to Guide Conservation of High-Andean Ecosystems in Colombia

24 Jan 2022 Chingaza National Natural Park, Colombia, Central and Latin America Biodiversity | Birds | Habitats

Cristina Rueda Uribe

The main goal of this project is to incorporate seasonality in ecological connectivity models and understand how the altitudinal movement of hummingbirds may be impeded by landscape barriers and altered with changes in land use and climate. We will focus on Chingaza National Natural Park and its buffer zones, located in the Eastern Andes Mountain Range of Colombia. It is an area that shelters montane tropical ecosystems of paramo, high-Andean forests and cloud forests, which provide habitat for endemic and threatened species and supply more than 10 million people in the capital city of Bogotá and surrounding rural communities with water, recreation and cultural identity. The park covers a large area of natural land covers, and is surrounded by different public and private conservation figures as well as anthropogenic activities that include agriculture, cattle raising and settlements.

Ramphomicron microrhynchum. ©Luis Guillermo Linares.

Ramphomicron microrhynchum. ©Luis Guillermo Linares.

To assess ecological connectivity for hummingbirds, we will collect data on demography, occurrence, population genetics, movement patterns and hummingbird-plant interactions. For this, we will use methods such as point counts, focal observations, captures with mist nets, pollen identification, DNA sequencing and minituarised tracking technologies. To collect information about local management practices, we will carry out interviews and workshops. Ecological models will then be run with current and future scenarios, giving key knowledge for conservation plans to promote connectivity between habitat types and avoid local extinctions of hummingbirds and their roles as pollinators. In this way, our purpose is to protect pollinator-plant networks into the future and provide a modelling framework to measure connectivity for species with seasonal habitat use.

Page header: Pterophanes cyanopterus. ©Luis Guillermo Linares.

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