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bird
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A database of 10,000 bird species shows how measurements of wings, beaks and tails can predict a species’ role in an ecosystem.

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Given that many bird species perform important ecological functions, such as pollinating plants, spreading seeds, or controlling pests, the database may help scientists to understand and predict how the loss of species will affect ecosystem health.

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A global team of researchers, led by Imperial College London and University College London, visited museums around the world to find specimens of nearly 10,000 species, covering more than 99 percent of all known bird species. Their results, and the database, are published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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