The species of birds, fish and mammals with the most ecological niches are found in both temperate and tropical environments, according to research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
These ecological niche definitions include those that cover habitat, food web and food availability, and those that involve both.
The findings show that the niches for each species are relatively uniform across the planet.
The species that have the most niches across both habitats are those that have been known to live in those habitats for millions of years.
These are the types of species that are considered to be at the apex of their food web, and therefore most vulnerable to extinction.
For example, the bird species that can live in a large amount of arid land and have the largest ecological nichess are the brown pelicans and the white pelicans.
The red-legged bird species have a much smaller ecological niche, but its a very high-priority species that is in the top 10 of the 10 most threatened species worldwide, according the report.
The authors of the study, from the University of Reading in the UK, concluded that although birds and fish are important to the food web of other animals, it is the birds that have a larger ecological niche in temperate regions.
“Although some species may have niches that are smaller than others, they have been found to have larger ecological nicheds in tropical habitats than in temperated regions,” they said.
“These results suggest that the number of species within the ecological niche of a given ecological niche may be related to how many species there are within the species and that this relationship is not a simple function of the species’ species composition, but rather reflects the overall ecological diversity of a system.”
The findings have implications for conservation of birds and other wildlife species.
For instance, conservationists could reduce the number and the extent of species losses through conservation measures like limiting habitat loss and reducing predators.
The study’s co-author, Dr Rebecca O’Brien, from University College London, said: “The results of this study suggest that conservation measures that limit the impact of human activities and increase biodiversity can have a significant effect on the distribution and abundance of these species.”
She said the study’s results showed that biodiversity is not just about the number but also the quality of species in ecosystems.
“The biodiversity in an ecosystem is what determines the distribution, abundance and health of all its constituents, including wildlife,” she said.
She said that while the study is preliminary, the results have important implications for wildlife conservation.
“This study shows that species that live in very specific habitats can have greater ecological nichesis than those that live elsewhere in the ecosystem,” she explained.
“By increasing biodiversity and improving habitat, we can help reduce the risk of species extinction.”