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School of Environment and Natural Resources


ENRGP Exit Seminar: Landscape Habitat Associations and Distribution of Secretive Marsh Birds

Apr 17, 2013, 9:30am - 10:30am

An ENR Graduate Exit Seminar will be held Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in 382 Kottman Hall. Benjamin Kahler will present Landscape Habitat Associations and Distribution of Secretive Marsh Birds in the Glaciated Region of Ohio, USA

Secretive marsh birds, including bitterns, rails, coots, gallinules, grebes, and Black Terns  are obligate wetland birds that require emergent marsh to meet annual life cycle requirements. Total area of emergent wetland has declined dramatically over the last century. Studies suggest several secretive marsh bird species have experienced strong population decline. Identification of limiting factors and development of biological models describing species-habitat associations are essential to developing habitat conservation strategies that achieve population goals. Previous studies of marsh bird habitat associations focused almost exclusively at patch or microhabitat scales. Although results from these studies have been informative, marsh bird conservationists identified a need for habitat analyses at larger spatial scales to improve regional, national, and continental conservation planning. I conducted call-broadcast surveys for nine species of secretive marsh birds in the glaciated region of Ohio, USA, during the breeding period in 2009 and 2010.  The goals of this study were to (1) assess whether standardized monitoring protocols are adequate to capture peak-detection periods of focal species, (2) assess species-specific area-sensitivity and area requirements, and (3) compare predictive performance of landscape suitability models of marsh bird presence using a suite of landscape variables at multiple spatial scales using three ecological niche modeling algorithms. I provide tools for improved conservation decisions by determining the location of areas most suitable for secretive marsh birds in the glaciated region of Ohio.