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Introduced birds are not replacing roles of human-caused extinct species


Human-caused bird extinctions are driving losses of functional diversity on islands worldwide, and the gaps they leave behind are not being filled by introduced (alien) species, finds a new study led by UCL and University of Gothenburg researchers.

The study, published in Science Advances, shows how human impacts such as habitat destruction and climate change are impoverishing ecosystems, even on islands where alien birds actually outnumber the species that have gone extinct.

Lead author Dr Ferran Sayol (UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, UCL Biosciences), who began the research while based at the University of Gothenburg, said: “Humans have drastically changed bird communities, not only by driving animals to extinction but also by introducing species into new habitats across the globe. There has been some debate as to whether introduced species might replace the roles of the extinct species, thus maintaining functional diversity within the ecosystem; here, we found that is unfortunately not the case. MORE

Header image: UCL.