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BIO 598 Final Paper

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BIO 598 Final Paper

  1. 1. EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY Waterfowl Diversity at Lake Reba During Fall Migration BIO 589 Ethan D. Henry 8/29/2013 Qualitative Sight Sampling of Waterfowl Using Lake Reba between Months (Oct. vs. Nov.) To Determine Species Composition And Diversity Of WaterfowlCommunities.
  2. 2. Henry 1 ABSTRACT Waterfowl migration is essential to their survival. Areas of migration in North America are broken into migration routes known as Fly Ways. In this case the Mississippi Fly Way will be emphasized. Waterfowl use migration routes to utilize food, habitat, and nesting sites. Along these migration routes are what is known as “stop-over sites” which include all water sources; lakes, rivers, wetlands, etc., where waterfowl stop to rest and feed during periods of migration. Lake Reba in Madison Co., KY, was surveyed during fall migration over the months October, November, and a small portion of December to determine what species were using the lake between months during the fall. Diversity indexes were used to show diversity between waterfowl species. I found that there were 4 dominating species that inhabit Lake Reba during the fall months which are the American Coot, Mallard, Canadian Geese, and Pied-billed Grebe. Diversity indexes showed that there was low diversity between waterfowl species between the three months surveyed. KEY WORDS disturbance, diversity, habitat, migration, Mississippi Fly Way, Prairie Pothole Region, waterfowl Introduction There are many different fly ways (migration routes) of waterfowl in the world; the Mississippi Fly Way is used the most heavily by waterfowl, especially in the Mississippi Alluvial valley, which consists of the lower Mississippi River. (Baldassarre et al. 2006). The Mississippi is the largest water way in North America and is approximately 3701.5 km long. The fly way is composed of several states which include Alabama, Arkansas, and Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and parts of Canada. Fly ways are essential to the survival of all migratory waterfowl because it allows them to utilize habitat for food and nesting sites. Early in the year, many waterfowl species will migrate to what is called “The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR)” (Figure 1.) in the northern parts of U.S. and Canada. It is the most productive duck habitat in the world (Sorenson, et al.1998). The PPR provides an abundance of food for duck hatchlings, perfect habitat for nesting sites, and protection from predators. But, due to climate change and other human causing factors, there has been a loss of habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region due to the construction of agricultural land. (Naugle 2001) Figure 1. Prairie Pothole Region of North America Humans play a huge role in the survival of waterfowl. As the human population increases so does the demand of food
  3. 3. Henry 2 (farming) and building. Humans are the number one cause of most extinctions and endangerment of animals in the present age due to habitat destruction/alteration (Pimm, et al. 2000). To understand why and where birds migrate to is essential in managing for the wellbeing of waterfowl. In the recent past biologists have seen a decrease in certain populations of dabbler duck populations such as the American Black Duck (Nichols 1995). Contributions to this issue have been determined by many things such as, global warming, loss of habitat, loss of edible biomass, loss of solid breeding habitat, and other disturbances caused by humans. After U.S Fish and Wildlife biologists reviewed several thousands of articles and books they have then grouped disturbances into 4 categories listed in order of decreasing disturbance (Korschgen et al. 1992). Which are, 1. Rapid overwater movement and loud noise (boating, skiing, aircraft), 2.Overwater movement with little noise (sailing, wind suffering, rowing, canoeing), 3. Little over water movement or noise (wadding, swimming), 4. Activities along shorelines (fishing, bird-watching, hiking, traffic). Understanding dynamics of waterfowl populations can help us determine what we as biologist need to do in managing for waterfowl. Study Area The study area, Lake Reba, a 76 acre reservoir built in the 1890’s by impounding Otter Creek in the Kentucky River drainage (City of Richmond KY 2013). The lake sits on a 600 acre recreational area that is subject to high anthropogenic disturbances such as; playgrounds, shelters, picnic areas, a little league baseball complex, a men’s softball complex, batting cages, a soccer complex, walking/jogging trails, recreational fishing, a boat ramp, fish cleaning stations etc. It is also home to many different waterfowl species that use this lake and are subject to most of these disturbances listed above (Disturbances 2, 3, 4). The objective of the study is to determine what waterfowl are using this area during fall migration Methods During each survey, the numbers of species of waterfowl present were determined based on observations taken at three locations (Figure 2.) During each survey, the number and species of waterfowl seen directly on the lake, on an island of the lake, or within approximately 5 meters of the lake shoreline were recorded. Only one survey of each section of the lake was taken per sample day to prevent double counting (Figure 3.). The lake was sight sampled multiple times throughout each week of October, November, and a small portion of December.
  4. 4. Henry 3 Figure 2. Waterfowl Survey Locations (observation points) on Lake Reba, Madison Co., KY, Oct.-Dec., 2013 Figure 3. Sections of Lake Reba, Madison co., KY, surveyed (scanned) for waterfowl, Oct.-Dec., 2013 To determine how similar species composition of waterfowl using Lake Reba between months October, November, and part of December, Simpson’s Index (Ss) of Similarity was used to determine similarity between waterfowl communities for each month surveyed, and Shannon Weiner diversity indexes were used to determine diversity between waterfowl communities between months surveyed. Results I found for the three months sampled, that there was a total of 11 species of waterfowl using the Lake Reba during fall the months (Table 1.). I observed that there were four dominating species that were using Lake Reba which were Mallards, Pied-billed Grebes, Geese, and American Coots. Simpson’s index showed a value of 0.55 for waterfowl surveyed October, 0.61 for November, and 0.6 for December. The Shannon Weiner values for the three months were 0.96 for October, 1.11 for November, and 0.98 for December. In this case Shannon Weiner having statistical value between 0-5, 5 being high diversity and 0 being low in diversity, I found that populations at Lake Reba during the fall months are extremely low in diversity. I also found while conducting the surveys that many residents visiting the lake were feeding waterfowl on a regular basis. Discussion We see from the results that throughout all months sampled, both Shannon Weiner’s Diversity Index and Simpsons Index of Similarity show that there is low diversity of waterfowl species using Lake Reba during months October, November and December. According to the Sibley Field Guide all the dominating species recorded in the study except for the American Coot use this part (Madison Co.) of the Mississippi Fly Way year round for habitat. These species include the Canadian Geese, Mallard, and Pied- billed Grebe. When compared to a similar study done in 1984 by Brad Andres in Lexington, KY, (approximately 45km north of Madison Co.) at a local city reservoir, he found that during the early months of fall that mallards and coots were the dominating species in his study. Upon comparison between these two studies a trend arises in that, Mallards and American Coots are found to be the dominating species of both studies in early fall. Andres also noted that the greatest diversity waterfowl in the Lexington reservoir took place in December
  5. 5. Henry 4 which could resemble the peak of waterfowl species migrating through this area and shed light on why Lake Reba showed low diversity since only a portion of December (3 days) was surveyed for waterfowl. Therefore, further surveying would be needed to conclude if Lake Reba would become more diverse in waterfowl during fall/winter migration. Table 1. Number of waterfowl surveyed during months of October, November, and December at Lake Reba, Madison Co., KY, 2013 Waterfowl Species October November Dec (1st – 4th) Total Geese 116 236 71 423 Pied-billed Grebe 86 127 28 241 Mallard 348 405 0 753 American Coot 336 741 87 1164 Great Blue Heron 13 16 0 29 Hooded Merganser 0 2 0 2 Ring-necked Duck 0 6 0 6 Double-crested Cormorant 0 1 0 1 Bufflehead 0 21 0 21 Northern Shoveler 0 6 0 6 Lesser Scaup 0 3 0 3
  6. 6. LITERATURE CITED Baldassarre, G.A., E.G. Bolen, T.R., Sayre. 2006. Waterfowl migration fly ways. Pages 252-270 in Water Ecology and Management 2nd Edition Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Sorenson, L. G., Goldberg, R., Root, T. L., Anderson, Michael G., 1998. Potential effects of global warming on waterfowl populations breeding in the Great Plains. Volume 40, Issue 2 Sibley, D. A., 2003. Bird distribution in North American. Pages 1-10 Dahlgren, Robert B., and Carl E. Korschgen. 1992. Human disturbances and their impacts on waterfowl: an annotated bibliography. Us Fish and Wildlife Service Resource Publication 188. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online< e/literatr/disturb/index.htm> Accessed 24 Sept. 2013 Naugle, David E., et al. 2001 A landscape approach to conserving wetland bird habitat in the prairie pothole region of eastern South Dakota Wetlands. 21.1:1-17. Andres, Brad. 1989. Fall and winter use of the Lexington Reservoirs by waterbirds. The Kentucky Warbler 65:56-60, Accessed 10 Oct. 2013. Ducks Unlimited: Mississippi Flyway Project." Weblog post. DU Projects: Mississippi Flyway. Accessed 24 Sept. 2013. < wework/flyways/du-projects-mississippi- flyway> Pimm, S. L. 2000. Impacts of humans on biodiversity. Nature Publishing Group. Accessed 10 Oct. 2013. < City of Richmond, Lake Reba. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.< -07-31-17-46-27/lake-reba> Nichols, James D., Fred A. Johnson, and Byron K. Williams, 1995. Managing waterfowl of North America JSTOR. Accessed 06 Dec. 2013. Kulm Wetland Management District. Productivity of the Prairie Pothole Region. U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Accessed. 20 Dec.2013< s/pothole.html>.