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Susan K. Skagen

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The Prairie Pothole Region, situated in the northern Great Plains, provides important stopover habitat for migratory shorebirds. During spring migration in the U.S. Prairie Potholes, 7.3 million shorebirds refuel in the region's myriad small, freshwater wetlands. Shorebirds use mudflats, shorelines, and ephemeral wetlands that are far more abundant in wet years than dry years. Generally, climate change is expected to bring warmer temperatures, seasonality shifts, more extreme events, and changes to precipitation. The impacts to wetland habitats are uncertain. In the Prairie Potholes, earlier spring onset and warmer temperatures may advance drying of wetlands or, alternately, increased spring precipitation may produce...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Playa wetlands on the west-central Great Plains of North America are vulnerable to sediment infilling from upland agriculture, putting at risk several important ecosystem services as well as essential habitats and food resources of diverse wetland-dependent biota. Climate predictions for this semi-arid area indicate reduced precipitation which may alter rates of erosion, runoff, and sedimentation of playas. We forecasted erosion rates, sediment depths, and resultant playa wetland depths across the west-central Great Plains and examined the relative roles of land use context and projected changes in precipitation in the sedimentation process. We estimated erosion with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Climatic Change
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Recent changes in global climate have dramatically altered worldwide temperatures and the corresponding timing of seasonal climate conditions. Recognizing the degree to which species respond to changing climates is therefore an area of increasing conservation concern as species that are unable to respond face increased risk of extinction. Here we examine spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the rate of climate change across western North America and discuss the potential for conditions to arise that may limit the ability of western migratory birds to adapt to changing climates. Based on 52 years of climate data, we show that changes in temperature and precipitation differ significantly between spring migration...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Climatic Change
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This paper provides updates on population estimates for 52 species of shorebirds, involving 75 taxa, occurring in North America. New information resulting in a changed estimate is available for 39 of the 75 taxa (52%), involving 24 increases and 15 decreases. The preponderance of increased estimates is likely the result of improved estimates rather than actual increases in numbers. Many shorebird species/taxa are considered to be declining: current information on trends indicates negative trends outnumbered increasing trends by 42 to 2, with unknown or stable trends for 31 taxa.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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To identify areas on the landscape that may contribute to a robust network of conservation areas, we modeled the probabilities of occurrence of several en route migratory shorebirds and wintering waterfowl in the southern Great Plains of North America, including responses to changing climate. We predominantly used data from the eBird citizen-science project to model probabilities of occurrence relative to land-use patterns, spatial distribution of wetlands, and climate. We projected models to potential future climate conditions using five representative general circulation models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5). We used Random Forests to model probabilities of occurrence and compared the time...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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