Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



PLoS ONE 15(1): e0227361


© 2020 Zink et al.

Open access


A species presence at a particular site can change over time, resulting in temporally dynamic species pools. Ecological niche models provide estimates of species presence at different time intervals. The avifauna of La Brea includes approximately 120 species dating to approximately 15,000 years ago. Niche models predicted presence at the Last Glacial Maximum for over 90% of 89 landbird species. This confirms that niche modeling produces sensible range estimates at the Last Glacial Maximum. For 97 currently local species that are as yet undocumented at La Brea over 90% were predicted to occur; absence is due to insufficient study, lack of the ecological niche, transient occurrence or a behavioral ability to avoid entrapment. Our 366 niche models provide a prospective checklist of the landbird fauna of La Brea. The models indicate fluidity in life history strategies and a higher proportion of resident birds at the LGM (88% to 60%). We evaluated a subset of 103 species in breeding and winter periods using two climate models (MIROC−ESM, CCSM4) with a variety of differing parameters, finding differences in 5% of the niche models. Niche breadths in bark-foraging birds changed little between the present and LGM, suggesting that greater species diversity at the LGM was due to greater niche availability rather than contractions of niche breadths (i.e., niche partitioning).