Population Dynamics and Movement Patterns of the Federally-Endangered Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): Modeling Responses to Hydrologic Restoration in the EvergladesEPA Grant Number: FP916333
Title: Population Dynamics and Movement Patterns of the Federally-Endangered Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): Modeling Responses to Hydrologic Restoration in the Everglades
Investigators: Borkhataria, Rena R.
Institution: University of Florida
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2007
Project Amount: $101,082
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Aquatic Ecosystems , Fellowship - Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystems
The objectives of my research are to: (1) identify the population trajectory of wood storks under current and projected hydrological conditions in the Everglades; (2) identify the scale and pattern of wood stork foraging behavior; and (3) integrate these data within a modeling framework to understand the relative importance of restoration activities in influencing habitat selection and population dynamics of wood storks.
I will link an existing and ongoing study of stork biology using satellite telemetry with a modeling effort to address both demographic and landscape-oriented questions. The resulting product will address directly the need for a tool with which to evaluate Everglades restoration effects on storks. Using information on fledging success, age at first breeding, and survivorship gained from satellite-tagged wood storks, I will construct a stage-based demographic model for the species. I then will analyze relationships between hydrology and fecundity or survivorship to create a time-varying model based on likely hydrological scenarios and changes in vital rates associated with such states. I also will construct a spatially explicit individual-based model of wood stork foraging behavior in relation to water depths, hydroperiod, vegetation, and the presence and density of other wading birds on the landscape. I will compare simulated movements of birds across these landscapes to actual movement patterns observed for satellite-tagged wood storks and will use movement data to calibrate and validate the model. Using the validated model, I will conduct a series of sensitivity analyses to determine the parameters that are most important in influencing habitat selection in wood storks.
I expect to provide scientists, managers, and decision-makers with a model that will be useful for predicting the response of wood storks to changes in land management and hydrological regimes. The results of this research also can be used to further develop and refine existing models of wood stork colony dynamics and the south Florida ecosystem.