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Bird Population Modeling


        Applied Biomathematics® has several current and recent projects related to the ecology and conservation of bird species. These projects involve data analysis on the dynamics of endangered and threatened species, developing models for extinction risk assessment, and performing population viability analysis with habitat-based metapopulation models linked to geographic information systems.

  If you are not familiar with these concepts, you can read short introductory material in the following pages:

The following links point to the summaries of our bird studies.

Species Conservation and Management: Case Studies is a new book that includes the application of population and metapopulation models to a wide variety of species, including 6 bird species.
California Gnatcatcher California Gnatcatcher is a federally threatened subspecies inhabiting the coastal sage scrub community in southern California. The coastal sage scrub is a distinctive plant community that has declined due to extensive agricultural and urban development in this area. Our project involved an analysis of the dynamics of the California Gnatcatcher in central and coastal Orange County, California. For this analysis, we first developed and validated a habitat model for the species, using GIS data. We then used this habitat model as a basis of a metapopulation model, which included demographic data such as fecundity, survival, as well as variability in these demographic rates.

California Least Tern is federally listed as an endangered species. Its nesting habitat has been degraded, and many colony sites are vulnerable to predation and human disturbance. In this study, we developed a metapopulation model for the California least tern that can be used to predict persistence of populations along the Pacific coast and the effects of various management actions.

Sharp-tailed Grouse has been declining in many areas. We analyzed the effect of forest management options on the viability of this species in the Pine Barrens region of northwestern Wisconsin, using a model that integrates landscape and metapopulation modelling approaches.

Sage Sparrow depends on early successional shrubland (chaparral) habitat, especially when the availability of preferred open coastal subshrub vegetation is limited. We analyzed the viability of this species under different fire regimes in the foothills and mountains of San Diego County, California, USA.

Marbled Murrelet is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in California, Oregon, and Washington. It is also listed as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. Habitat destruction through forest harvest is generally regarded as the main cause of population decline, although mortality in gill-nets, in oil spills, or as a result of predation are also thought to play significant roles. Our analysis involved estimating the risk of decline of the Marbled Murrelet populations in southern Oregon and northern California, under various assumptions and management considerations.
Marbled Murrelet
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker is an endangered species that lives in mature pine forests from Florida to Virginia and west to southeast Oklahoma and eastern Texas. From the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker rapidly declined as its mature pine forest habitat was altered for a variety of uses, primarily timber harvest and agriculture. Our analysis involved assessing the effect of a timber harvest plan on the viability of a RCW population in Louisiana. We used GIS maps to estimate a habitat model. Based on this model, and predicted timber harvest plan, we estimated the change in the habitat suitability and other parameters of this RCW population.

Northern Spotted Owl is a threatened species living in old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. Our analysis of the Northern Spotted Owl involved developing a metapopulation model of the entire range of the species in the US, and predicting the impact of an assumed 10% decrease in old-growth forests in the next 100 years on the viability of the species.
Spotted Owl
Helmeted Honeyeater
Helmeted Honeyeater is an endangered species endemic to Victoria, Australia. In our analysis, we used spatial (GIS) data on the habitat requirements of the helmeted honeyeater to define the patch structure. We then combine this patch structure with demographic data to build a metapopulation model, and use the model to analyze the effectiveness of translocations as a conservation strategy for the helmeted honeyeater.
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Date modified: 2-24-05