In view of the change in the structure and function of ecosystems as a product of anthropic activities, it is necessary to develop indicators that allow us to monitor ecosystems’ capacity to provide services to humans. This is critical if we are to identify losses and where to invest limited resources to protect biodiversity and promote the sustainability of local communities. In this context, the diversity of functional traits and the diversity of species that express them could reflect ecosystem service delivery capacity. However, few studies have explicitly considered the value of a particular group of species traits for monitoring conservation investments or proposed objective metrics that could be used by decision makers. Furthermore, large-scale analyses across multiple land-uses in the same region using various functional diversity metrics are lacking, and many tools that form the basis for countless conservation decisions are based on species richness, even when mechanisms that explain the relationship between this parameter, landscape structure and functional diversity are not well understood. My goal is to evaluate how is the relationship between functional trait diversity and bird species richness in areas that have undergone different levels of transformation across the Brisbane Local Government Area (LGA). This research constitutes an effort for developing a predictive framework that help us to identify how a loss of species and/or functional diversity is or is not expected following land-use change. This information will allow us to identify what combination of functional traits could be used to examine the potential consequences for provisioning of ecosystem services in managed landscapes, and to propose a methodology for monitoring natural habitats.

Funding: COLCIENCIAS Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies Abroad, ARC Discovery Grant

Advisors: Assoc Prof Jonathan Rhodes, Assoc Prof Martine Maron, Dr Matthew Mitchell


Project members

Andres Felipe Suarez Castro


PhD Candidate - Conferred November 2018