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Linck E, Bridge ES, Duckles JM, Navarro-Sigüenza AG, Rohwer S.2015. Assessing migration patterns in Passerina ciris using the world’s bird collections as an aggregated resource. PeerJ PrePrints3:e1567v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.1567v1
Natural history museum collections (NHCs) represent a rich and largely untapped source of data on demography and population movements. NHC specimen records can be corrected to a crude measure of collecting effort and reflect relative population densities with a method known as abundance indices. We plot abundance index values from georeferenced NHC data in a 12-month series for the new world migratory passerine Passerina ciris across its molting and wintering range in Mexico and Central America. We illustrate a statistically significant change in abundance index values across regions and months that suggests a quasi-circular movement around its non-breeding range, and use enhanced vegetation index (EVI) analysis of remote sensing plots to demonstrate non-random association of specimen record density with areas of high primary productivity. We demonstrate how abundance indices from NHC specimen records can be applied to infer previously unknown migratory behavior, and be integrated with remote sensing data to allow for a deeper understanding of demography and behavioral ecology across space and time.
Our article demonstrates the use of natural history collection specimen records in inferring population-level movements, shedding light on previously unknown migratory behavior in a New World passerine bird. This is a submission to PeerJ for review.
Animation of monthly changes in Passerina ciris abundance index values with EVI analysis of remote sensing data
Figure 2 (.gif animation). Abundance index (AI) values for Passerina ciris specimens in Mexico by month, plotted against EVI analysis of remote sensing data. Red circles indicate the occurrence of P. ciris specimens, with the diameter of the circle proportional to value of Abundance Index. Green areas indicate high EVI values, correlated with regions with a high density of live green plants (photosynthetically active vegetation).