Forest Interior Songbird Diversity and Breeding Success as a Function of Topography and Climate in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands

EPA Grant Number: U915408
Title: Forest Interior Songbird Diversity and Breeding Success as a Function of Topography and Climate in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands
Investigators: Sturtevant, Brian
Institution: University of Maryland - College Park
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: June 1, 1998 through June 1, 2001
Project Amount: $71,301
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objective of this research project is to establish a linkage between forest productivity and the breeding success of forest interior birds.


Ecological support for topographic/environmental controls on energy flow to secondary and tertiary trophic levels will be critically examined though a review and synthesis of the primary literature. This theoretical framework will be supported by the empirical study of: (1) forest productivity; and (2) avian density, diversity, and reproductive success at different topographic positions and under two distinct climatic regimes in western Maryland, representing moisture extremes that are typical of the Mid-Atlantic Highlands Region (MAHR). A series of 24, 10-hectare study sites will be distributed equally among xeric ridge tops and moist valley bottoms in both the relatively dry climate of the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province, and the relatively wet climate of the Appalachian Plateau. The sites will be stratified further into structurally simple and complex sites to remove the confounding influence of canopy structure. All of the sites will be located within the forest interior. A statistical model will be developed to relate forest productivity (i.e., site index) to existing topographic moisture indices. Multivariate analyses of variance will be used to test avian "response" to topographic position, and the results will be compared between physiographic provinces.

The results of this research project will form the ecological basis for extrapolating avian reproductive potential using landscape topography and regional climate in the MAHR of the eastern United States.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, forest interior birds, avian habitat, forest productivity, site index, topography, landscape modeling, Maryland, MD, topography, climate, songbird breeding, songbird diversity., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Forestry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Habitat, Mid-Atlantic, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Urban and Regional Planning, Ecological Indicators, avain community composition, forest productivity, breeding success, avian habitat quality, avian community reproduction, Mid-Atlantic Highlands Region (MAHR)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999
  • Final