What Do Shorebirds Tell Us About Climate Change?

A collection of rock sandpipers are carefully preserved at the University of Alaska Museum. “I think showing a full tray of specimens is a way for people to understand how these are records not just of this bird, this time, and this place, but also how that changes through time.”

What Do Shorebirds Tell Us About Climate Change?

Kevin Winker is the curator of birds at the University of Alaska Museum and a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The State of Alaska’s bird collection, housed at the museum, stores bird specimens, genetic samples, tissue samples and skeletons. Scientists from Alaska and from all over the world can borrow samples. “I think showing a full tray of specimens is a way for people to understand how these are records not just of this bird, this time, and this place, but also how that changes through time,” Winker said. “We are preserving them in perpetuity.” He showed a collection of rock sandpipers (Calidris ptilocnemis) carefully preserved at the museum representing ”A permanent record to compare changes in biological diversity in time and in space.” The resource helps scientists explore how shorebirds are responding to changing climate conditions.

Also featured: Dan Ruthrauff, wildlife biologist with USGS, Alaska Science Center.

Over time shorebirds tell us about climate change

Over time shorebirds tell us about climate change

What do Shorebirds tell us about climate change? video | Frontier Scientists YouTube

(Over time shorebirds tell us about climate change)

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Project Summary

Rock Sandpipers

Rock Sandpipers

Rock Sandpipers in Alaska — Alaska is home to many millions of breeding shorebirds during the summer; typically they leave in the winter. Scientists at USGS Alaska Science Center learned there were birds spending the winter at high latitudes.... Read More >