Date of Completion
biodiversity, avian, management, conservation, ecology, evolution, landscape structure, metacommunity, phylogenetic diversity, functional diversity
Michael R. Willig
John Silander Jr.
Field of Study
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Doctor of Philosophy
Anthropogenic modification of landscapes continues to be one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. As human populations grow and demands for natural resources and land increase, landscapes will experience intensified alteration and fragmentation, with potentially dramatic consequences for biodiversity. Consequently, development of appropriate conservation policies requires effective monitoring programs as well as an understanding of how communities are affected by human-modified landscapes. To address this, I explored how multiple dimensions of temperate forest bird biodiversity (taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic) respond to human-modified landscapes by investigating the relative importance of habitat area, habitat configuration, and matrix heterogeneity. I evaluated relationships between biodiversity and landscape pattern at multiple spatial scales and considered relationships at the community and metacommunity levels of organization. Additionally, I used patterns of phylogenetic relatedness and functional similarity among co-existing species to explore mechanisms underlying the assembly of ecological communities. This approach is used to investigate relative importance of deterministic factors (e.g., environmental conditions and interspecific interactions) versus stochastic processes (e.g., importance of chance colonization, random extinction, and ecological drift) for determining local species composition. Lastly, I evaluated the efficacy of Autonomous Recording Units as an alternative to traditional point counts conducted by human observers as they are a potential cost-effective data collection technique that could increase the spatial and temporal range of observations while expanding the number and diversity of studied organisms.
Klingbeil, Brian T., "Biodiversity Dynamics of Forest Birds in Fragmented Landscapes: A Multidimensional Approach for Ecology and Conservation" (2015). Doctoral Dissertations. 745.