Habitat complexity explains species-specific occupancy but not species richness in a Western Australian woodland

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Title Habitat complexity explains species-specific occupancy but not species richness in a Western Australian woodland
Author Cousin, Jarrad; Phillips, Ryan D.
Journal Name Australian Journal of Zoology
Year Published 2008
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Abstract Habitat complexity is an important factor governing species richness and habitat selection in birds. The present study examined this relationship in a large wandoo woodland in Western Australia. Habitat complexity (comprising canopy, shrub, ground vegetation, log and leaf litter cover) and bird species richness was recorded in 48 sites, each ~3 ha in size. We found no significant correlation of habitat complexity with species richness. We propose that the absence of such a relationship results from the resource-poor environment of the woodlands of south-western Australia. The relative scarcity of food resources results in a species richness threshold beyond which there are insufficient niches and resources to support additional species with increasing habitat complexity. Only two species exhibited significant associations with habitat complexity, with the western yellow robin (Eopsaltria griseogularis) occupying sites with higher habitat complexity, and the restless flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) occupying sites with lower habitat complexity. Although some species may respond specifically to habitat complexity, management of avian biodiversity within Australian woodlands should take into account the potentially greater role that productivity and resource availability play in influencing species richness, rather than habitat complexity per se. Furthermore, the individual components comprising habitat complexity may be of equal importance in assessing relationship of species richness to overall habitat complexity.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ZO07065
Copyright Statement Copyright 2008 CSIRO. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 56
Issue Number 2
Page from 95
Page to 102
ISSN 0004-959X
Date Accessioned 2009-03-17
Language en_AU
Faculty Faculty of Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology
Subject Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology); Conservation and Biodiversity; Terrestrial Ecology
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/23544
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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