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Arizona State University (ASU) 2016

Response of Waterbird Communities to Habitat and Landscape Structure along an Urban Gradient in Phoenix, Arizona

Burnette, Riley

Titre : Response of Waterbird Communities to Habitat and Landscape Structure along an Urban Gradient in Phoenix, Arizona

Auteur : Burnette, Riley

Université de soutenance : Arizona State University (ASU)

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2016

Résumé
Urban riparian corridors have the capacity to maintain high levels of abundance and biodiversity. Additionally, urban rivers also offer environmental amenities and can be catalysts for social and economic revitalization in human communities. Despite its importance for both humans and wildlife, blue space in cities used by waterbirds has received relatively little focus in urban bird studies. My principal objective was to determine how urbanization and water availability affect waterbird biodiversity in an arid city. I surveyed 36 transects stratified across a gradient of urbanization and water availability along the Salt River, a LTER long-term study system located in Phoenix, Arizona. Water physiognomy (shape and size) was the largest factor in shaping the bird community. Connectivity was an important element for waterbird diversity, but not abundance. Urbanization had guild-specific effects on abundance but was not important for waterbird diversity. Habitat-level environmental characteristics were more important than land use on waterbird abundance, as well as diversity. Diving and fish-eating birds were positively associated with large open bodies of water, whereas dabbling ducks, wading birds, and marsh species favored areas with large amounts of shoreline and emergent vegetation. My study supports that Phoenix blue space offers an important subsidy to migrating waterbird communities ; while alternative habitat is not a replacement, it is important to consider as part of the larger conservation picture as traditional wetlands decline. Additionally, arid cities have the potential to support high levels of waterbird biodiversity, heterogeneous land use matrix can be advantageous in supporting regional diversity, and waterbirds are tolerant of urbanization if proper resources are provided via the habitat. The implications of this study are particularly relevant to urban planning in arid cities ; Phoenix alone contains over 1,400 bodies of water, offering the opportunity to design and improve urban blue space to optimize potential habitat while providing public amenities

Sujets : Ecology / Geography / Wildlife conservation

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Page publiée le 13 novembre 2017