Monday, March 25, 2013

[Ornithology • 2012] Geodatabase of Global Owl species and Owl Biodiversity Analysis

Global diversity assessments contribute to the understanding of large taxonomic groups, and conservation efforts depend on knowledge of taxonomic status, distribution and abundance of species. These assessments and databases provide a basis for studying patterns and changes in species distribution and diversity, especially in light of global issues such as climate change. As apex predators, owls can play a significant role in providing for broader ecosystem-level conservation and analysis. Because they are excellent indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem health, owls can be used to identify conservation targets and at-risk areas. By studying and conserving owl species, larger biodiversity conservation goals can be achieved. This project developed a geodatabase of 211 owl species range maps and analyzed the characteristics of the global distribution of owlsfor the Global Owl Project (GLOW). Density maps of species richness, threatened species, data deficient species, and restricted-range species were developed using the database. A rarity-weighted species index using the parameters of the threatened and restricted-range species revealed conservation priority areas in South America, central Africa, and Indonesia. 

Keywords: owl, biodiversity, GIS, database, range maps

Figure 3. The global distribution of 210 of the 221 owl species identified by the International Ornithological Union. 

Cite as: Romulo, Chelsie L. 2012. Geodatabase of global owl species and owl biodiversity analysis. Master of Natural Resources Capstone Paper. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Falls Church, Virginia. 53 pp.