Science

Projects 2017-07-27T13:41:53+00:00

Current Projects

Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring Program

Managers and scientists are working together in a new project to understand and optimally manage conservation lands in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways to support continental populations of waterbirds. They are using adaptive management and modeling in an innovative way that incorporates their management expertise as well as new conservation planning and modeling tools. Check out the IWMM site.

Past Projects

SAMBI Designing Sustainable Landscapes

The overall goal of this collaborative effort is to develop a consistent methodology and to enhance the capacity of states, joint ventures and other partners to formulate conservation design schemes at landscape levels to sustain bird populations and other wildlife in the Eastern United States. The initial project focused on the South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative landscape – namely, the South Atlantic coastal plain. While this project served as a “test of concept”, subsequent projects have focused on refining the modeling protocols as well as expanding the working extent. The individual modeling componets of the DSL-SAMBI project has been fully documented on this website and can be accessed under the various headings provided above. As additional datasets are developed they will be added to the downloads page.

Objectives:

  1. Assess the current capability of habitats in ecoregions in the eastern United States to support sustainable bird populations.
  2. Predict the impacts of landscape-level changes (e.g., from urban growth, succession, climate change and conservation programs) on the future capability of these habitats to support populations of migratory birds.
  3. Target conservation programs to most effectively and efficiently achieve habitat objectives in State Wildlife Action Plans and bird conservation plans and evaluate progress under these plans.

For more information visit the project’s website at NCSU’s Biodiversity and Spatial Information Center

View an Office of the Science Advisor Seminar Series presentation: Designing Sustainable Landscapes for Avian Conservation, presented July 18, 2013 by Drs. Barry Grand and Jaime Collazo.

Radar Analysis Of Bird Migration Stopover Sites In The Southeastern U.S

During migration birds require stopover habitat that provides energy resources and safety from predators. Because stopover use of land birds during migration can vary dramatically from day to day and locally in space, comprehensive and long-term monitoring of stopover use is necessary to identify areas that are consistently used by migrant birds in high densities. We analyzed two years of archived data from eight weather surveillance radars to produce maps of seasonal bird stopover density the South Atlantic Coastal Plain and Peninsular Florida.

Read the entire report
View the power point presentation

Radar Analysis of Fall Bird Migration Stopover Sites in the Northeastern U.S.

We used data collected during Fall 2008 and 2009 by 16 WSR-88D and 3 terminal Doppler weather radars in the northeastern U.S. to study the spatial distribution of landbirds shortly after they leave daytime stopover sites to embark on nocturnal migratory flights. The aerial density of birds, as estimated by radar reflectivity, was georeferenced to the approximate locations on the ground from which birds emerged. We classified bird stopover use by the magnitude and variation of radar reflectivity across nights; areas were considered ‘important’ stopover sites from a conservation perspective if relative bird density was consistently or occasionally high. These results were used to develop models to predict potentially important stopover sites in portions of the region not sampled by the radars, based on land cover, ground elevation, and geographic location. Locally important stopover sites generally were associated with deciduous forests embedded within landscapes dominated by developed or agricultural lands, or near the shores of major water bodies. Large areas of regionally important stopover sites were located along the coastlines of Long Island Sound, throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, in areas surrounding Baltimore and Washington, along the western edge of the Adirondack Mountains, and within the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia and West Virginia. Our analysis indicates that preserving patches of natural habitat, particularly deciduous forests, in developed or agricultural landscapes and along major coastlines should be a priority for conservation plans addressing the stopover requirements of migratory landbirds in the northeastern U.S.

Applying remote sensing tools to regional conservation planning for migratory landbirds

The dramatic seasonal migrations of Nearctic-Neotropical migratory landbirds confound efforts to design effective conservation strategies that will protect migrants throughout all phases of their annual cycle, particularly during passage. However, advances in radar ornithology and geographic information science (GIS) now make it possible to locate migratory stopover sites and integrate the spatial and temporal patterns of migrant stopover with data on land cover, habitat configuration and land use. This project is using weather surveillance radar (NEXRAD) and GIS tools in development of a model regional conservation plan for protecting migratory landbirds during passage. The central steps in developing the proposed conservation plan include creating, applying, and assessing a standardized ranking system for prioritizing the conservation value of migratory landbird stopover sites.

For more information please follow these links:

NJ Audubon Preserving Oases Along the Flyway
TNC Virginia Eastern Shore Radar Project