Nav: Home

Museum of Natural Science researchers publish the first birds of Bolivia field guide

December 01, 2016

Bolivia has more species of birds than any other land-locked country in the world. It is sixth in the world in terms of diversity of bird species, which is notable given that it has no marine birds. LSU Museum of Natural Science researchers and research collaborators in Bolivia have authored the first field guide book to birds of Bolivia.

"Bolivia is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity," said LSU Museum of Natural Science Curator of Birds and John S. McIlhenny Distinguished Professor J.V. Remsen, who is a co-author of Birds of Bolivia.

The LSU Museum of Natural Science has the world's largest collection of Bolivian birds, which is the backbone of data for the book and its illustrations. The field guide illustrates all 1,425 bird species of Bolivia and provides a concise synopsis of distribution, habitat, feeding behavior and diet, plumage variations, vocalizations, and behavior for each species, much of which was previously unpublished. Birds of Bolivia is also the first field guide to birds to apply computer algorithms called "ecological niche modeling" to map species distributions. These maps are more precise and objective than those in traditional field guides.

The book is the culmination of decades of research by LSU Museum of Natural Science researchers. Remsen began LSU's field program in Bolivia in 1979. He and LSU Museum of Natural Science staff and students have added 111 bird species to the list of species known from Bolivia.

"LSU museum staff and students typically spent two to three months each year from 1979 through 1993 conducting fieldwork in Bolivia," Remsen said. "LSU doctoral candidate and field guide co-author Ryan Terrill has rejuvenated the fieldwork in Bolivia and led the project for the past six years."

LSU's recent fieldwork in Bolivia is made possible by support from the Coypu Foundation and other private donors. The nine-person international author team includes two Bolivian researchers. Two of the guide book artists are also Bolivian.

"I am proud to be part of one of the only bird field guides to a Latin American country that was written and illustrated in part by home-grown talent," said Remsen, who emphasized the importance of developing in-country resources for the future of ornithology and conservation in Bolivia. Remsen and Terrill also predict that the new field guide will catalyze an increase in ecotourism in Bolivia by visiting bird-watchers.

"Guidebooks like this put a lifetime of research into the hands of nature enthusiasts," said LSU Museum of Natural Science Director Robb Brumfield, who has made two research trips to Bolivia. "Natural science research collections make work like this possible, providing opportunities to discover new species, study our planet's rich biodiversity, share this rich knowledge with the public and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards."

All proceeds from the book sales will go directly toward bird conservation, ecotourism capacity building and raising environmental awareness in Bolivia through Asociación Armonía, which is the leading bird conservation organization in Bolivia and is committed to protecting the country's most endangered species.
-end-


Louisiana State University

Related Biodiversity Articles:

Mapping global biodiversity change
A new study, published in Science, which focuses on mapping biodiversity change in marine and land ecosystems shows that loss of biodiversity is most prevalent in the tropic, with changes in marine ecosystems outpacing those on land.
Bee biodiversity barometer on Fiji
The biodiversity buzz is alive and well in Fiji, but climate change, noxious weeds and multiple human activities are making possible extinction a counter buzzword.
What if we paid countries to protect biodiversity?
Researchers from Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the USA have developed a financial mechanism to support the protection of the world's natural heritage.
Grassland biodiversity is blowing in the wind
Temperate grasslands are the most endangered but least protected ecosystems on Earth.
The loss of biodiversity comes at a price
A University of Cordoba research team ran the numbers on the impact of forest fires on emblematic species using the fires in Spain's DoƱana National Park and Segura mountains in 2017 as examples
Biodiversity and carbon: perfect together
Biodiversity conservation is often considered to be a co-benefit of protecting carbon sinks such as intact forests to help mitigate climate change.
The last chance for Madagascar's biodiversity
A group of scientists from Madagascar, UK, Australia, USA and Finland have recommended actions the government of Madagascar's recently elected president, Andry Rajoelina should take to turn around the precipitous decline of biodiversity and help put Madagascar on a trajectory towards sustainable growth.
Biodiversity draws the ecotourism crowd
Nature -- if you support it, ecotourists will come. Managed wisely, both can win.
Biodiversity for the birds
Can't a bird get some biodiversity around here? The landscaping choices homeowners make can lead to reduced bird populations, thanks to the elimination of native plants and the accidental creation of food deserts.
Biodiversity can also destabilize ecosystems
According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides.
More Biodiversity News and Biodiversity Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.