Funded Research Projects: WILDLIFE SCIENCE

Monitoring and mapping of Avian Resources over Selected Areas of the Great Lakes to Support Related Resource Management

Research Sponsored By: Great Lakes Commission
Principal Investigator: Beth Gardner
Project Description
Waterbirds tend to aggregate in large groups such that they are distributed non-uniformly across space. Developing predictive models is thus challenging because it can be difficult to locate these flocks as well as single individuals in the vast Great Lakes environment. Our goal is to examine waterbird occurrences and abundances in near-shore and open water areas of the Great Lakes using survey data collected during previous studies in this area. To do this, we will explore a breadth of potential modeling approaches focused on: 1) identification of “hotspot” and “coldspot” locations; 2) relationships of waterbird occurrences/abundances to relevant environmental covariates; and 3) standardizing data across differing sampling protocols. Our results will help determine the future sampling and modeling priorities while informing current waterbird conservation priorities and should provide a useful first step in management decisions on wind energy development in the Great Lakes.