Large and fine scale drivers of insectivores in the southern Appalachian mountains
Abernathy, Heather Nichole
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We examined how spatial variation in long-term precipitation patterns and site productivity potential directly and indirectly predicted foliar C:N, caterpillar biomass, and abundance of 11 songbird species in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Our results suggested that variation in abundance was best explained by elevation. In order to understand the potential driver of elevation or mean annual precipitation at a larger scale, we compared occupancy models using land cover and elevation only to models that included finer scale climate data for trailing-edge populations of the Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens, BTBW). Models that included local mean annual precipitation, integrated moisture index, and heat load index predicted 4,800 - 44,776 fewer acres than models using land cover and elevation.