In Southeast Asia, songbirds plucked from forests are sold as pets. The more unique and beautiful the song, the greater the demand and more devastating the harvest. With 6,600 species of songbirds worldwide, experts are partnering with Species360 Conservation Science Alliance to pinpoint those most at risk. Species360 CSA formed a multidisciplinary project team comprised of data analysts, population dynamics, and songbird experts to conduct the research and develop a solution.
Species360 CSA and researchers from the University of Southern Denmark are developing the Songbird Species Knowledge Index – a database that, for each species, measures the knowledge on different factors such as international trade routes, genomic information, and climate threats across all the described passerines.
The project is carried out in coordinating with the CITES Secretariat and EAZA’s Silent Forest Group, and led by Prof. Dalia Conde, Species360 Director of Science and Simon Bruslund, Head of Conservation at Birdpark Marlow and member of the Silent Forest Group, and now Academic Partner of the CSA. Bruslund and Conde recruited ERASMUS scholar Jacqueline Jürgens, University of Hamburg, to help with data entry and analysis.
When gathered in one place, the trove of global data on species covers threats, habitats, and factors that influence how long a population may survive. The Songbird Species Knowledge Index demonstrates how that data can be used to inform decisions about when, and how, to intervene to save endangered populations or whole species said Dalia A. Conde.
Pinpointing a highly threatened species not yet listed by CITES
Applying analytics to the combination of data, the Songbird Species Knowledge Index enables researchers to identify families and genuses that meet certain criteria. For example, researchers can home in on species that are both highly targeted by trade and highly threatened by climate change. The index makes it possible to identify those species that are likely to become targeted in the future. By displaying gaps in knowledge, the index shows where researchers may break new ground.
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