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Attend a Graduate Defense

The campus community is invited to attend the following graduate defense:

Stephanie CoatesĀ 

When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6
Where: Micron Business and Economics Building, Room 4201
Title: Building the Full Annual Cycle Picture for Long-billed Curlews: Correlates of Nesting Success in the Breeding Grounds and Spatial Distribution and Site Fidelity in the Wintering Grounds
Program: Master of Science in Biology

Migratory birds face threats throughout the annual life cycle, and cumulative effects from linkages between the breeding and non-breeding grounds may impact species at the population level. Long-billed Curlews are a grasslands-breeding migratory shorebird of conservation concern that show population decline at some regional and local scales. Curlews exhibit high site fidelity to breeding territories and therefore localized population declines could indicate localized threats, in the breeding or wintering grounds alike. However, little information is available regarding their spatial distribution on the wintering grounds, especially for Mexico. Furthermore, breeding ground studies which examine habitat selection and nest success in the context of predator and anthropogenic pressures are lacking. I designed my thesis to add critical information that could help pinpoint conservation issues, including understanding limitations to nesting success and mapping spatial distribution and habitat use patterns during the non-breeding season. In the breeding grounds, I compared used- to available habitat to examine nest site selection within territories, and modeled correlates of nesting success for 128 curlew nests at 5 Intermountain West sites. During the non-breeding season, I used satellite transmitters to track 21 curlews that bred in the Intermountain West and wintered in California and Mexico, examined home range size with dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Models, and for 14 individuals with multiple winter seasons, I compared inter-annual site fidelity with a Utilization Distribution Overlap Index. These findings provide valuable information for full annual cycle conservation, and will be particularly constructive for conservation planning once range-wide migratory connectivity is mapped.