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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Jason Tucker's Graduate Defense Seminar

Aug 21, 2014, 11:00am - 12:00pm


A Graduate Defense Seminar will be presented by Jason Tucker, a MS student in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, on Thursday, August 21, at 11:00 a.m. in 245 Kottman Hall. He will present Movements, Habitat Use, and Home Ranges of Greater Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) in Ohio.

The Greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida) historically inhabited Ohio until its extirpation from the state in the 1930s due to habitat loss and unregulated hunting.  The first breeding pair was discovered in Wayne County, Ohio in the mid-1980s and the breeding population has since continued to grow and expand.  The first systematic study of Ohio’s cranes was conducted during 2002-2004 but seasonal movements, habitat use, and migration behavior were largely unstudied in this breeding population.  Road surveys, ground searches, and opportunistic aerial surveys were conducted during 2011-2013 to locate cranes and to determine their local movements and distribution in northeast Ohio.  Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II data was also evaluated to investigate the statewide distribution of the crane population during 2006-2011.  Twenty-three cranes were captured and equipped with transmitters during 2011-2013 at Killbuck Marsh and Funk Bottoms Wildlife Areas in Holmes and Wayne Counties, OH to track their local movements, seasonal habitat use, and migration behavior.  Our results indicate that the breeding crane population in Ohio continues to grow steadily.  Cranes are occupying smaller and more isolated pockets of wetland habitat throughout the northern part of the state and as far south as Pickaway County at Slate Run Metro Park.  Our results also suggest the need for continued management and enhancement of emergent wetlands at known occupied areas and potentially suitable unoccupied habitat areas.  A protocol is necessary to establish a population viability analysis based on population vital rates such as survival, recruitment, fledge success, and mortality rates; and environmental factors such as suitable breeding habitat availability and land use changes (i.e. development, habitat restoration) to determine the minimum viable population of cranes in Ohio.  More research is also necessary to better understand the potential that reproduction in Ohio and the flock of nonbreeding adults at Funk Bottoms WA are significant reservoirs of recruits into Ohio’s breeding population.  Such information including considerations of socially acceptable population levels will contribute to determining when cranes can be delisted or down-listed as state-endangered in Ohio.