2019/12/13 Eben Goodale:Mixed-species bird flocks: behavior, community ecology and conservation

讲座题目:Mixed-species bird flocks: behavior, community ecology and conservation

主讲人:Eben Goodale 教授

主持人:斯幸峰 研究员


讲座地址:闵行校区 生科辅楼119会议室

主办单位:生态与环境科学学院  科技处


      Eben Goodale is Professor, PI of a group focusing on animal ecology and conservation at Guangxi University. He is interested in the connection between three fields of ecology: behavioral ecology, community ecology and conservation biology. His research focuses on how behavior, particularly communication, affects the interactions between species, and how knowledge about such interactions can be integrated into conservation and management plans. He received his bachelor’s from Harvard College (1997), his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2005), and held postdoctoral fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, the National Science Foundation (USA) and the University of California, San Diego / University of San Diego. Much of his work has been done on birds and in Sri Lanka, but he has also conducted bird research in India, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and now China, and has also worked on communication in bees. He is the first author of “Mixed-species Animal Groups” (Academic Press, 2017), the only book on this topic, and is an author on more than 75 peer-reviewed articles including publications in peer-reviewed journals. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in introductory biology, biodiversity, ecology, and experimental design and statistics in the United States, Sri Lanka, PNG and China. He lives with his wife, the ecologist Uromi Manage Goodale, and son in Nanning.


     Mixed-species bird flocks (MSFs) are an important subsection of the avian community in many different habitats, but are particularly common and well-studied in forests. Two projects about communication in MSFs of Sri Lanka illustrate the complexity of behaviors that occur in them. A project on alarm calls described a mutualistic system. One gregarious leader species makes the most and the quickest alarm calls, but is unreliable, requiring other species to emphasize true threats. In contrast, a project on vocal mimicry showed the potential for manipulation. Here a drongo contextually mimics other species, with mimicry attracting other species towards it, reforming MSFs, and influencing other species’ behaviors in ways that benefit the calling drongo. This background about the diversity of species interactions in MSF can serve as a foundation to investigate the structure of these communities. MSFs usually include insectivorous, non-terrestrial species, and are led by gregarious species that are information providers. Following species prefer to join flocks in which the majority of other species, and especially leaders, are similar to them in body size and other characteristics. What implications, then, does this knowledge about MSF systems have for conservation? Two large-scale sampling projects, one in Sri Lanka and India, and one in southwest China, have shown that MSF metrics decline from forest to buffer areas to agriculture. The same conclusion is reached by a global meta-analysis, with MSF in the most disturbed areas having 1/4 fewer species and 1/3 fewer individuals, and MSFs being in general more sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance than the overall avifauna. Some of this effect is direct: habitat transformation changes the foraging ecology of birds and predation risk, which are major drivers of flocking. But there are also indirect effects, by which disturbance affects leading species, and the absence of these species leads to changes for other participants. Indeed, MSF leaders can be targets of management efforts to achieve community-wide conservation.