Waterfowl migration ecology and multi-species waterbird conservation planning in Ohio
Michael G. Brasher, PhD
Advisor: Robert Gates
Dissertation: Duck use and energetic carrying capacity of actively and passively managed wetlands in Ohio during autumn and spring migration
Conservation planning for wetlands-dependent birds is predicated principally on the assumption that during non-breeding periods food availability is the factor most limiting to population growth. However, few studies have investigated the ecology of waterbirds during migration to determine if patterns of habitat use and bird distributions support this assumption. The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) has been adopted as the model for landscape-level conservation for all wetlands-dependent birds. Thus, studies of waterfowl ecology during migration may be relevant to conservation planning for non-waterfowl species. This research documented diel waterfowl use and food availability of public and restored, private wetlands in Ohio, and relate patterns of use to macro-habitat and landscape-level wetland characteristics. Coupled with findings from previous wetland and waterbird research in Ohio, this information may be used to develop a GIS-based planning model for directing conservation activities benefiting multiple waterbird species.