1. Predicted Effects of Climate Change on Birds
Shahrin Azim, Christine Franco Choi, Rebekah Suh, Floril Thomas
Acknowledgements: We’d like to acknowledge Professor Mitchell Baker and the HNRS 225 class.
We predicted that research bias would be present in
studies that demonstrate how climate change affects
desirable versus undesirable birds. We began by finding
articles on both endangered/ beneficial and invasive/ pest
aves species through the Web of Science database.
Humans seem to be relatively apathetic to birds; we had
difficulty in finding studies that strongly characterized
them as desirable or undesirable. Thus, we concluded that
our sampling was not large enough to accurately detect
the presence of bias.
What is climate change?
We found articles through the Web of Science database with the following search
• Desirable species - birds AND climate change AND endangered
• Undesirable species - bird* AND climate change, bird* AND climate change AND
invasive, bird* AND climate change AND pest*
We used the following definitions in our research:
• “desirable” species - endangered species
• “undesirable” species - pests, invasives, or both
• climate change “harms” - actively endangers this species, cuts off food sources,
destroys habitat, favors competing species
• climate change “helps” - helps this species to outcompete other species, expands their
breeding range, creates food sources, or has no effect on it
We had 126 results on Web of Science when using the search term combination “birds
AND climate change AND endangered”, 4,084 results for “bird* AND climate
change”, 115 results for “bird* AND climate change AND invasive”, and 37 results for
“bird* AND climate change AND pest*”. We ultimately used 25 articles for our study.
What does this mean?
Climate change refers to a shift in climate patterns, most
commonly associated with human interference which
contributes to a rapid increase of atmospheric temperature and
carbon dioxide levels. Climate change is a naturally occurring
phenomenon, but humans have been accelerating this process
since the start of the industrial revolution with the discovery
and use of fossil fuel.
Predicted effect of climate
change on species
Desirable 4 6
Undesirable 9 6
• Our study did not show enough evidence to support
the claim of research bias, however, a slight trend
• Expanding the sample size might demonstrate a
stronger bias trend.
We propose following up on our findings by studying the
bias of both researchers and the general public through
polls which present both “desirable” and “undesirable”
species. We will ask the participants whether they predict
climate change to harm or to help the species in question.
The results are consistent with the null hypothesis; the
desirability or undesirability of a species does not affect
the proportion of climate change's predicted benefit or
harm towards it. However, these results may be affected
by small sample size (25), and a different conclusion
might result from a different selection of studies and/or
Science should be an unbiased field of study. However,
humans often tend to anthropomorphize animal behavior or
exhibit xenophobia to invasive animal species in a similar way
as they might do to other humans. People often feel more
sympathetic to creatures that appear vulnerable, while
demonstrating hostility to pest species that inconvenience their
daily lives. In order to accurately predict the effects of climate
change on various species, it is imperative that researchers
avoid such biases. x2= 0.967 ; probability greater than x2=0.326; P value is greater than 0.5
(we failed to reject the null hypothesis)
Berkowic, D., Stokke, B. G., Meiri, S., & Markman, S. (2015). Climate
change and coevolution in the cuckoo–reed warbler system. Evolutionary
Ecology Evol Ecol, 29(4), 581-597. doi:10.1007/s10682-015-9763-x
Bancroft, B. A., Lawler, J. J., & Schumaker, N. H. (2016). Weighing the
relative potential impacts of climate change and land-use change on an
endangered bird. Ecology and Evolution, 6(13), 4468-4477.
A full list of sources used can be found at