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Riverbird distributions and habitat use

By John McLaughlin

Western Washington University

Students determine habitat use by birds associated with rivers, using data collected while moving downriver in boats. They use R to calculate resource selection functions for each species. Results can be compared among species, river reaches, or...

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Version 1.0 - published on 26 Jan 2021 doi:10.25334/ZCRS-DK83 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

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Description

Riverbirds are widespread components of river systems. Diverse riverbird species use riparian habitats in differing ways. Riverbirds are mobile, allowing them to respond rapidly to changing river conditions. Most riverbirds are positioned several trophic levels above direct impacts to river systems, facilitating their use as integrative measures of ecosystem responses to anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic drivers.

This project describes a simple sampling protocol, to support data collection on riverbirds and riparian habitats. Data are recorded while traveling down river in boats. Birds are recorded in a strip transect, and habitat types are sampled in a systematic survey with a random starting point. The protocol can be implemented on multiple river reaches and along diverse rivers to facilitate comparisons or synthesis across river basis. Riverbird habitat use is determined by calculating resource selection functions, using logistic regression to estimate coefficients. This approach is easier to conduct and involves less uncertainty than conventional methods using ratios of random variables. Data and analyses in this project can be used in diverse contexts to evaluate riverbird responses to diverse anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic drivers.

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Version 1.0
Anticipate adding data from diverse rivers in the future.

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