Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 10, Iss. 2 > Art. 5 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Concomitant Patterns in Avian and Mammalian Body Length Changes in Denmark

Niels Martin Schmidt, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
Per Moestrup Jensen, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University


Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


We gathered length data on 61 Danish breeding birds from the past 200 years, and related the pattern of change to present body mass and other ecological parameters. Body mass was the only parameter significantly correlated with the rate of change, and the emerging pattern in the rate of change followed the island rule. That is, smaller species have become larger and vice versa, while the medium-sized species remain essentially unchanged. The suggested optimal body mass was around 85 g. Though orders of magnitude lower, the pattern in avian body size change was similar to that of Danish mammals. Our analyses suggest that increasing habitat fragmentation leads to altered body size towards being medium-sized in Danish vertebrates. The changing landscape, thus, appears to be an important driver of body size changes in vertebrates.

Key words

Body length; habitat fragmentation; island biogeography; island rule; Aves; reproductive output; migration; feeding category; competition; avoidance; tolerance.

Copyright © 2005 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087