Amazon birds are mutating due to climate change

Even the most remote areas of the Amazon, where humans have not yet arrived, are being affected by climate change, is what new research reveals.

The warmest and hottest conditions Droughts of the past four decades are shrinking the body size of rainforest birds while increasing their wing spans, according to a study published in Science Advances.

Believed that these changes are a response to nutritional and physiological challenges, especially during the dry season, which takes place between June and November.

“In the midst of this pristine Amazon rainforest, we are seeing the global effects of changes man-made climate,” said Vitek Jirinec, an ecologist at the Center for Research for Integral Ecology, a non-profit organization based in the United States, said in a statement.

Jirinec and his colleagues analyzed data collected about more than 000.000 birds than outside m captured, measured, weighed and tagged over a period of 40 years of fieldwork.

Researchers found that almost all of them became lighter from the decade on de


Most species lost, on average, 2% of body weight every decade, which means that a species of bird that weighed 30 grams in the 1980 decade now weighs 27, 6 grams on average.

Moreover, the data do not correspond to a specific place, but were collected in a wide variety of areas of the tropical forest, which means that the phenomenon could be verified in all places.

In total, the scientists investigated 77 species whose habitats range from the dark and humid forest floor, to the intermediate layer of vegetation, which receives greater incidence of light.

Birds in the layers higher, which fly more and are more exposed to heat, recorded the most pronounced changes in body weight. rporal and span.

The team considered the hypothesis that it was an adaptation to energy pressures, for example, the decrease in the availability of resources such as fruits and insects, and also to thermal stress.

The longer wings and reduced weight-to-wing ratio produce a more efficient flight, similar to that of a glider, which can fly using less energy.

A relationship Higher wing weight requires birds to shake their limbs faster to stay aloft, using more energy and producing more metabolic heat.

These species “are quite in tune with each other, so when everyone in the population is a few grams smaller, that’s significant,” said research co-author Philip Stouffer, of Louisiana State University, USA. dealing in the future with increasingly hotter and drier conditions still remains unanswered.

The authors added that it is likely that q that the same effect they have reported is also happening in other species around the world that live in extreme environments.

“Without a doubt, this is happening everywhere and probably not just with birds”, says Stouffer.

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