speaker: Prof. Richard G. Lathrop
(Rutgers University Ecological Preserve)
building: Dyers Brae
room: Seminar Room
see also: additional details
The Western Atlantic population of Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) has undergone dramatic declines in recent decades and conservation biologists have sought to improve knowledge about the species’ ecology in an effort to address these declines. One major information gap has been the lack of good information to describe range and habitat use during the breeding season, when the species is distributed sparsely across the Canadian Arctic. Airborne radio-telemetry surveys and intensive field surveys were conducted across the central Canadian Arctic to locate breeding Red Knots and record characteristics of their nesting habitat. Maximum entropy modeling (MaxEnt) and geographic information system (GIS) data on environmental characteristics were used to predict Red Knot habitat suitability at two spatial scales: of nesting site location suitability at the landscape scale across Southampton Island, and of breeding habitat suitability (i.e., both nesting and foraging habitat) at a broader, regional scale across the central Canadian Arctic. I will examine the relative influence of different environmental characteristics on the predictions of this model of habitat suitability, comment on the bias inherent in such efforts for a sparsely distributed and difficult-to-study species like the Red Knot, and discuss the implications of the results for conservation and future status assessments of other low density shorebird species.