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Intertidal habitat utilization patterns of birds in a Northeast Pacific estuary
Frazier, M., J. Lamberson, AND Walt Nelson. Intertidal habitat utilization patterns of birds in a Northeast Pacific estuary. Wetlands Ecology and Management. Springer Science and Business Media B.V;Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V., , Germany, 22:451-466, (2014).
A habitat-based framework is a practical method for developing models (or, ecological production functions, EPFs) to describe the spatial distribution of ecosystem services. To generate EPFs for Yaquina estuary, Oregon, USA, we compared bird use patterns among intertidal habitats. Visual censuses were used to quantify 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. Our results suggest that a habitat based assessment approach is generally feasible for developing relative EPFs related to the presence of birds within estuarine systems.
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.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH