Date Thesis Awarded

5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Matthias Leu

Committee Members

Daniel Cristol

Robert Rose

Abstract

My study explores 1) whether 10 species of prairie wetland birds respond to land-use land-cover change (LULC) in the area adjacent to their breeding habitat and 2) whether they respond differently to wetland loss depending on the replacement land-cover type at two spatial extents. I used Breeding Bird Survey data and adapted National Land Cover Database change data to quantify changes in bird species abundance and LULC. Models of the relationship between these variables suggest three things: 1) bird response to change in specific land-cover types varies on the basis of of the amount of the land-cover present initially, 2) response to habitat loss or adjacent LULC change varies at different spatial extents, 3) wetland loss to developed land is the most important for explaining change in avian abundance. My results suggest that conservation strategies for prairie wetland birds should regulate wetland transition to urban land cover more heavily than other land cover typess and that management strategies should take into account the amount of habitat and adjacent land-covers initially present when regulations are enacted.

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