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Benthic Habitat-Based Framework for Ecological Production Functions: Case Study for Utilization by Estuarine Birds in a Northeast Pacific Estuary
Frazier, M. AND J. Lamberson. Benthic Habitat-Based Framework for Ecological Production Functions: Case Study for Utilization by Estuarine Birds in a Northeast Pacific Estuary. Presented at Benthic Ecology Meeting, Jacksonville, FL, March 19 - 22, 2014.
WED scientists developed Ecological Production Functions (EPFs) that describe how bird use spatially varies within Yaquina Bay, Oregon. Bird watching is one of the most valued services of wetlands; for example, in Oregon, estimated expenditures on wildlife viewing exceed that from fishing, hunting and shellfishing combined. This study describes how bird use varies among the intertidal habitats within an estuary. This information may be used to better predict how changes in habitat area – due to a variety of factors - may alter the suite of services people receive from estuarine ecosystems, and may facilitate land-management decisions at the estuary scale. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that a habitat-based framework is a practical method for developing EPFs for estuarine systems.
Habitat-based frameworks have been proposed for developing Ecological Production Functions (EPFs) to describe the spatial distribution of ecosystem services. As proof of concept, we generated EPFs that compared bird use patterns among intertidal benthic habitats for Yaquina estuary, Oregon, USA. Visual censuses quantified abundance of bird groups and general species richness in: Zostera marina (eelgrass), Upogebia (mud shrimp)/mudflat, Neotrypaea (ghost shrimp)/sandflat, Zostera japonica (Japanese eelgrass), and low marsh estuarine habitats. Also assessed were (1) spatial variation within a habitat along the estuary gradient, and, (2) temporal variation based on bi-monthly samples over a year at five tidal ranges. Z. marina was an important estuarine habitat based on nearly all metrics of bird use, except for shorebird densities. This suggests that reductions in native eelgrass habitat may reduce the abundance and diversity of birds in Yaquina estuary. A benthic habitat based assessment appears generally feasible for developing relative EPFs related to the presence of birds within estuarine systems.
URLs/Downloads:BENTHIC HABITAT FRAMEWORK FOR EPF ABSTRACT BEM 2014.PDF (PDF,NA pp, 11.842 KB, about PDF)
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH