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Joel A. Schmutz

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Blue-winged teal (Anas discors) are abundant, small-bodied dabbling ducks that breed throughout the prairies of the northcentral USA and central Canada and that winter in the southern USA and northern Neotropics. Given the migratory tendencies of this species, it is plausible that blue-winged teal may disperse avian pathogens, such as parasites causing avian malaria, between spatially distant areas. To test the hypothesis that blue-winged teal play a role in the exchange of blood parasites between North America and areas further south, we collected information on migratory tendencies of this species and sampled birds at spatially distant areas during breeding and non-breeding periods to diagnose and genetically...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Parasitology Research
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We quantified variation in winter survival of Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata (L., 1758)) across nearly 30° of latitude on the Pacific coast of North America to evaluate potential effects on winter distributions, including observed differential distributions of age and sex classes. We monitored fates of 297 radio-marked Surf Scoters at three study sites: (1) near the northern periphery of their wintering range in southeast Alaska, USA, (2) the range core in British Columbia, Canada, and (3) the southern periphery in Baja California, Mexico. We detected 34 mortalities and determined that survival averaged lower at the range peripheries than in the range core, was lower during mid-winter than during late winter...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Canadian Journal of Zoology
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Accurate estimates of breeding success are essential for understanding population dynamics and for managing populations. Unfortunately, research activities to collect these data can negatively impact the breeding success of the study species and bias estimates of breeding success. Despite the potential for negative impacts, few studies have documented the effect of capturing incubating adults on nest survival or compared nest survival following different capture methods. In this study we evaluate the impacts of investigator disturbance associated with captures and nest visits on nest survival of Yellow-billed Loons (Gavia adamsii) and Pacific Loons (Gavia pacifica) in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A),...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Condor
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Most emperor geese (Chen canagica) nest in a narrow coastal region of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) in western Alaska, but their winter distribution extends more than 3000 km from Kodiak Island, Alaska, to the Commander Islands, Russia. We marked 53 adult female emperor geese with satellite transmitters on the YKD in 1999, 2002, and 2003 to examine whether chronology of migration or use of seasonal habitats differed among birds that wintered in different regions. Females that migrated relatively short distances (650-1010 km) between the YKD and winter sites on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula bypassed autumn staging areas on the Bering Sea coast of the Alaska Peninsula or used them for shorter periods (mean...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) life-history characteristics make their populations particularly vulnerable to perturbations during nonbreeding periods. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was a major perturbation to nonbreeding habitats of harlequin ducks in Prince William Sound, Alaska, which resulted in population injury. To assess the status of population recovery from the oil spill and to evaluate factors potentially constraining full recovery, we used radiotelemetry to examine survival of adult female harlequin ducks during winters of 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1997-98. We implanted 294 harlequin ducks (154 and 140 in oiled and unoiled areas, respectively) with transmitters and tracked their signals from...
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