Co-supervisors: Dr. Karen Hodges, University of British Columbia Okanagan, and Dr. Christine Bishop, Environment Canada.
Collaborators: Dr. Keith Hobson, Environment Canada, Klamath Bird Observatory, San Pancho Bird Observatory, Tierra de Aves A.C., MX
Many riparian birds in Canada occur at the northern edge of their range. There is little understanding of the overwintering locations, return rates, and survivorship of these birds relative to those in the core of their range. This research will primarily examine the range-wide patterns in overwintering locations and the factors that influence migration trends in riparian birds that nest in the dry interior of British Columbia (BC) and in Northern California.
This PhD position is designed as a comparative study of populations of two focal species, Gray Catbird, and Yellow-breasted Chat (endangered in BC). The student will use geolocator data, stable isotopes, corticosterone, and mercury analyses in collaboration with Mexican partners to identify overwintering locations, travel corridors, and stressors affecting these populations.
Preferred Qualifications: We are seeking a student with an MSc in ecology, biology, conservation, or related disciplines. We will look favorably on research experience with birds, including practical skills in bird banding and handling and identification. The successful applicant will have strong grades, likely with peer-reviewed journal publications, and GIS and statistical skills. We expect the successful applicant will also apply for graduate fellowships.
We ask all interested applicants to submit a cover letter, informal transcripts, and a CV to Dr. Hodges for initial screening (for full consideration, submit materials before December 15). Highly qualified candidates will be encouraged to apply formally to UBC Okanagan’s Biology Graduate Program for September 2016 admission; we strongly hope the student will be able to begin fieldwork in May 2016.
For questions about the position please contact:
Dr. Karen Hodges, firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the Biology Graduate Program at UBC Okanagan:
Want to learn more about your local bioregion? Enjoy delicious local food and drinks? Don’t miss this fun and educational happy hour Wednesday night at the Standing Stone Brewing Co. in Ashland.
The event will take place Wednesday November 18th from 5-6pm and is a free community event hosted by the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.
For the Birds: Immense Possibilities is Rebroadcasting an Episode Featuring Klamath Bird Observatory
Watch this episode:
Saturday November 21st, 2015 at 8:30am Pacific Time on OPB Plus or,
Saturday November 21st, 2015 at 4:00pm on KIXE-TV.
You can also find the full episode on a previous Klamath Call Note blog post.
***NEWS RELEASE-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
November 13, 2015
Contact: Jared Wolfe jdw@KlamathBird.org
ARCATA, Calif. — Prothonotary Warblers are stunningly beautiful and highly migratory birds closely tied to their preferred breeding habitat: swamps and other forested wetlands in the eastern United States. Scientists have noted that Prothonotary Warbler populations have experienced precipitous declines in recent years, prompting new research investigating the little known migratory behavior of this remarkable bird. As part of this effort, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, Klamath Bird Observatory, Louisiana Bird Observatory, and Audubon Louisiana attached several geolocators—ultra-lightweight devices that record the time of sunrise and sunset each day—using a back-pack harness on several Prothonotary Warblers to identify their migratory routes and core wintering areas. The information collected by each geolocator was used to estimate the daily longitude and latitude of the bird.
“As part of this study, we deployed three geolocators on Prothonotary Warblers in Louisiana,” says Jared Wolfe, lead author and postdoctoral researcher with the Pacific Southwest Research Station and Klamath Bird Observatory. “After the breeding season, at least one individual completed its fall migration, over-wintered and made its way back to Louisiana where the bird was recaptured and the geolocator was retrieved.”
Data from the geolocator suggest that this bird traveled at least 5,000 miles through seven countries.
Researchers found that this Prothonatory Warbler’s migration pattern included an initial flight over the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana into Central America, then east to the Greater Antilles for about one month, followed by a flight over the Caribbean Sea south to northwest Columbia where it remained for the duration of the winter. These findings contribute to a growing body of evidence that many migratory birds often use two or more wintering locations, or exhibit prolonged stopover behavior.
“Our results are the first to document movements of Prothonotary Warblers during their migratory and over-wintering periods,” says Erik Johnson, co-author of the study and director of bird conservation at Audubon Louisiana. “Based on the success of this study, we formed a coalition that includes researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and Audubon South Carolina where we deployed an additional 47 geolocators on Prothonotary Warblers in 2014.”
By increasing the breadth of the study, the team of scientists hopes to better understand the migratory and over-wintering behavior of Prothonotary Warblers to identify core areas of habitat that may require additional protection for the species. This study also demonstrates that geolocators can be safely used to document migratory connectivity of species of conservation concern.
The findings of this study were published in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Field Ornithology. To read or download the publication, go to http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/49289.
Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. Headquartered in Albany, California., the Pacific Southwest Research Station develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. This news release adapted from US Forest Service June 10, 2015 Press Release.
*** NEWS RELEASE — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
October 12, 2015
Contact: Jaime Stephens, email@example.com, (541) 944-2890 or John Alexander, firstname.lastname@example.org, (541) 890-7076
A document authored by Klamath Bird Observatory and Lomakatsi Restoration Project provides guidance for private landowners interested in implementing oak habitat restoration on their land. The document, entitled Restoring Oak Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners, emerged from a collaborative project involving a suite of private and public conservation partners, including the Bureau of Land Management (Medford District), US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Klamath Basin Audubon Society, Oregon State University, American Bird Conservancy, and Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network.
Historically oaks were widespread throughout the valleys and foothills of Oregon and California. However, the arrival of Europeans to the region in the mid-1800s marked the beginning of a period of decline for oak habitats and their associated wildlife. Many oak woodlands were converted for agricultural uses or urban development, and decades of fire suppression during the latter half of the 20th century has allowed less fire-resistant yet faster growing tree species, such as Douglas-fir, to encroach upon and displace oaks. Now, the majority of remaining oak habitats occur on private lands. Private landowners are thus presented with an opportunity to restore healthy, wildlife-rich oak ecosystems to the landscape and thereby leave a valuable legacy for future generations.
The new landowner guide focuses on conservation practices for Oregon white oak and California black oak habitats. The document begins with an overview of the importance and history of oak habitats and then provides life history information for the oak species of the region. The guide next provides detailed oak restoration guidelines for achieving desired conditions in oak stands, such as diverse habitat structures, large oak trees, and the presence of snags, downed wood native shrubs and perennial grasses. The guide also includes supplemental resources for private landowners, including a list of organizations that will assist with private lands restoration as well as step-by-step instructions for monitoring birds to track the return of native wildlife following oak restoration activities.
This accessible, attractive, and informative guide is available for free download on the Klamath Bird Observatory website (click here). Funding for this project came from the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, a Toyota TogetherGreen grant managed by Klamath Basin Audubon Society, and the Rural Schools and Community Development Act.
Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and we now apply this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs.
Recently published paper describes meaningful ecological units (i.e., Management Domains) for collaborative conservation in the Klamath Region
August 14, 2015 – For Immediate ReleaseContact: John Alexander, jda[AT]KlamathBird.org, 541-890-7067
Patterns of plant, amphibian, mammal, and bird distribution have been used to identify ecological boundaries in the Klamath Region of southern Oregon and northern California, one of the most biophysically complex areas in North America. These patterns are described in a paper, recently published in the Natural Areas Journal, written by collaborators from the National Park Service, US Geological Survey, Klamath Bird Observatory, and other organizations. “This paper represents our first collaborative effort to link biogeography with protected areas management in the Klamath Region,” says the papers lead author, Daniel Sarr (formerly with the National Park Service and now working with the US Geological Survey). John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director and a co-author on the paper added, “In the Klamath Region, natural resource managers are challenged with managing the complex array of environments that characterize the area. In this paper, we describe patterns that help delineate meaningful ecological units, or Management Domains, that are intended to advance collaborative natural resource management in the Region.”
The distributions of species described in the paper illustrate conceptual and spatial domains for natural areas management that provide an eco-regional framework for collaborative conservation. The paper describes a Maritime Management Domain in the western portion of the Region that is similar to other coastal areas. To the east, a Great Basin Domain that is similar to other Great Basin environments is also described. While conservation management approaches that have been tested in other areas of the west coast and Great Basin may be effectively applied in these two Domains, a third Eastern Klamath Management Domain, at the core of the Klamath Region, is more unique and presents novel management challenges. This third Domain has higher species richness and endemism than other environments in the western United States that are climatically similar, such as the southwest. Because the area is so unique, management approaches that have been successful in other areas may not be as easily applied in the Eastern Klamath Management Domain. Lead author Daniel Sarr explains further, “Because of its exceptional spatial complexity, it has not always been clear how management concepts and approaches developed in other areas of the West can best be used in the Klamath Region.” However, the species that characterize the Eastern Klamath Domain may be the key to the conservation and management of natural areas in the Klamath Region. The Klamath Region will likely serve as an important refugia for a number of at-risk species that may become more threatened by climate change. Therefore management intended to help the Region’s unique array of native species persist into an uncertain future is becoming a priority. This paper presents an improved understanding of how such species are distributed across the region which, in combination with knowledge about the species’ habitat needs, can help inform design of the novel management approaches that may be needed in the Klamath Region.
Dr. Sarr concluded the following about these research results, “This new paper represents ongoing efforts to identify spatially explicit management domains and serves as a step forward. The work will undoubtedly be refined through ongoing observational science efforts being conducted by the Klamath Bird Observatory, National Park Service, and other regional partners.”
To access a copy of this new publication, Comparing Ecoregional Classifications for Natural Areas Management in the Klamath Region, USA in the Natural Areas Journal contact John Alexander (jda[AT]KlamathBird.org, 541-890-7067) or click here. Click here to view a PDF of this Science Brief and News Release.
About Klamath Bird ObservatoryKlamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. Klamath Bird Observatory is fueled by partner-driven science programs. We use birds as indicators of the healthy and resilient ecosystems on which we all depend. Our science involves three integrated aspects: 1) long-term monitoring, 2) theoretical research, and 3) applied ecology. We bring our results to bear through science delivery involving partnership driven engagement in conservation planning, informing the critical decisions being made today that will have lasting influences on the health of our natural resources well into the future.
Klamath Bird Observatory’s award-winning model was developed in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. We now apply this model more broadly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Plus, our intensive professional education and international capacity building programs expand our influence into Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Study results represent the first published documentation of El Niño’s influence on the survival of a resident tropical landbird and suggest that mature, un-fragmented forests may offer refuge in a changing climate
*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
June 23, 2015
Contact: Jared Wolfe, jdw[AT]KlamathBird.org, 262-443-6866
Habitat alteration due to forest clearing and climate change threaten wildlife populations across the globe. To better understand the interacting effects of habitat degradation and climate on bird populations, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), Klamath Bird Observatory, and Costa Rica Bird Observatories spent 12 years studying the White-collared Manakin, a fruit-eating tropical bird, in mature and young forests along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. During the study, several El Niño and La Niña events—cycles of warm and cold ocean temperatures that influence air temperature and precipitation—resulted in very marked dry and wet annual conditions that allowed researchers to measure differences in manakin survival relative to climatic shifts. Results were recently published as the cover article in the journal Oecologia July 2015 edition.
In young tropical forests, researchers found dramatic decreases in manakins’ survival during dry weather associated with El Niño. Researchers believe that, due to a sparser canopy and their fragmented nature, the young forests were more susceptible to understory drying that reduced fruit production. Conversely, manakins’ survival rates were higher during wet years associated with La Niña events in these young forests where increased moisture and sun exposure likely led to an abundance of fruit resources. In mature forests, researchers observed very stable manakin survival rates regardless of climatic shifts, suggesting a relatively constant abundance of fruit resources.
“The complex structure of mature forest is thought to serve as a climatic refuge, buffering fruiting plants from climatic changes resulting in stable manakin survival,” says Jared Wolfe, a postdoctoral researcher with PSW and Klamath Bird Observatory and the study’s lead author. “Climatic refuges, such as mature tropical forests, may be important for many resident tropical bird species faced with the decreasing availability of mature forests coupled with increases in the severity of El Niño-associated dryness.”
These study results represent the first published documentation of El Niño’s influence on the survival of a resident tropical landbird. Researchers believe that variation in manakin survival between forest types provides insight into the sensitivity of certain species to habitat alteration. “From a management perspective, understanding how climatic events affect biodiversity is critical for the development of science-based conservation strategies,” says Pablo Elizondo, the Costa Rica Bird Observatories’ executive director and co-author of the study.
This publication represents an ongoing collaboration between Klamath Bird Observatory, the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and International Programs, and the Costa Rica Bird Observatories.
SCIENCE BRIEF – High ranking priority conservation areas concentrated in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion
A new paper published in the journal Conservation Biology presents results from a novel conservation planning approach. This approach uses detailed data that predict the density of bird species across landscapes, as opposed to probability of occurrence models more typically used in conservation planning. These density-based models are better suited for identifying the highest priority conservation areas. The models were used to identify priority conservation areas in the Pacific Northwest. The results show a concentration of high ranking conservation areas in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. The Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion is recognized as an area of great biological diversity and as an important area for avian diversity. This new paper further demonstrates that the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion stands out as an important area for conservation focus.
This newly released Conservation Biology paper, titled Improving Effectiveness of Systematic Conservation Planning with Density Data represents collaboration among scientists from Klamath Bird Observatory, American Bird Conservancy, and Point Blue Conservation Science and was made possible with funding from the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative and data contributed from many Avian Knowledge Network partners.
Collaborative Partnerships and Data Sharing Result in Novel Approach for Better Conservation Planning
*** SCIENCE BRIEF AND NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
June 17, 2015
Contact: John Alexander, jda [AT] KlamathBird.org, 541-201-0866 x1#
A recent study published in the journal Conservation Biology makes a strong case for a new approach to conservation planning that uses much more robust data sets in order to better protect birds, plants, and animals. The concept is fairly simple, but won’t work unless scientists can agree to share data across studies.
“Right now, we primarily only use presence and absence data for species when conservation planning for large landscapes. Much of this is due to the cost and time of collecting more comprehensive data,” said the study’s lead author, Sam Veloz, climate adaptation group leader at Point Blue Conservation Science. “We can do a much better job of conservation planning if we include data on individual species richness, not just whether they are present.”
To illustrate this point, a research collaboration including authors from Point Blue, American Bird Conservancy, and Klamath Bird Observatory encouraged partners to make their detailed bird observation data accessible through the Avian Knowledge Network. Members of the Oregon/Washington Partners in Flight bird conservation community rallied to the call and over 900,000 new bird observations from 23 different studies were contributed to the Avian Knowledge Network through the Avian Knowledge Northwest node. These data were then combined with bird data from the California Avian Data Center and used to develop both presence/absence species distribution models and density models covering coastal Northern California, Oregon and Washington for 26 species of land birds representing four different habitat types. These models are freely available as part of the Pacific Northwest Climate Change Avian Vulnerability Tool available at Avian Knowledge Northwest.
To demonstrate the value of this large and detailed dataset, the Point Blue, American Bird Conservancy, and Klamath Bird Observatory researchers mapped conservation priority areas based on both the presence/absence and density models and compared the estimated population size protected in priority areas mapped using each method. “As expected, we found that the prioritizations based on count data protected more individuals of each species than the prioritizations based on presence/absence data in the areas of highest conservation priority,” Veloz said.
Veloz sees the main challenge is getting scientists from across the conservation spectrum to share their high-quality count data of individual species, no matter the study size, so planners can have as broad a dataset as possible when drawing up conservation plans. “This study shows the value of researchers sharing their data. We can combine and recycle data from multiple studies, and re-use it to answer larger conservation questions,” Veloz said. “If we all worked together to share data, we could better prioritize and protect important habitat.”
This study was funded by the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Full citation: Veloz, S., Salas, L., Altman, B., Alexander, J., Jongsomjit, D., Elliott, N., Ballard, G. 2015. Improving effectiveness of systematic conservation planning with density data. Conservation Biology. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12499/abstract.