Skip to main content

Developing a Coordinated, Multi-Region Effort to Understand the Effects of Climate Change on Migratory Birds

Development of an Alaska Based Research Framework for Migratory Waterfowl
Principal Investigator
Brad Griffith


Start Date
End Date
Release Date


Birds are appreciated and enjoyed by thousands of people and also play important roles in the ecosystem as predators, prey, and pollinators. Alaska provides important breeding ground for hundreds of migratory bird species that travel thousands of miles in their annual migrations between breeding and wintering spots. Understanding how climate and land use changes affect migratory bird populations is crucial; however this information is also very difficult to collect. Migration routes expose birds to a wide range of landscapes and habitats, which are often experiencing varying degrees of climate and land use change (e.g. warmer temperatures or increased housing developments). Moreover, climate change in the future may cause bird populations [...]

Child Items (4)


Principal Investigator :
Brad Griffith
Co-Investigator :
Abby Powell
Funding Agency :
Alaska CSC
CMS Group :
Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) Program

Attached Files

Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.

“Common eiders - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS”
thumbnail 343.01 KB image/jpeg


Migratory waterfowl that breed in Alaska routinely travel thousands of miles in their annual migrations among breeding, stopover and wintering ranges. The effects of climate and land use on their survival and productivity varies along the migratory routes and population trends result from the cumulative effects of habitat quality and climate throughout their annual range. It is unlikely that the direction or strength of climate and habitat change are consistent among ranges and, as a result, it is extremely difficult to unravel the most important effects on population size when potentially contrasting positive and negative influences of climate and habitat occur within a year at widely separated locations. A very large scale research framework or strategy is needed to deal with the complexity of this problem and increase the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of research studies and resulting management. Using an intensive review of the scientific literature to identify knowledge gaps and a survey of expert opinions of researchers and managers this project will identify what types of information are most critical for the development of a focused and integrated multi-regional research program and the best ways for researchers and managers from seasonal ranges to communicate in common terms.

Project Extension

typeTechnical Summary
valueThe objective of this proposal is to provide a draft research framework for prioritizing research within and among CSCs in regard to migratory waterfowl that breed in Alaska. Because life history requirements and the timing of migration varies among migrant guilds and species, and because climate change is heterogeneous throughout North America (IPCC 2007) it is unlikely that the direction or magnitude of climate effects, or non-climate stressors for that matter, on the seasonal habitats (breeding, stopover, wintering) of any species or guild is consistent. Climate change may be beneficial on one seasonal range, detrimental on another and the cumulative effects across annual life cycles and decades may not be known unless there is a coordinated and focused effort to integrate research across the entire annual range of a migrant or group of migrants, i.e., across multiple CSCs. Population trends result from the sequential cumulative effects of habitat quality and mortality sources on survival and fecundity schedules as migrants traverse their annual routes from year to year. Seasonal use areas ignore administrative boundaries and habitat quality and mortality factors in each of the seasonal use areas of migrants affects energy balance, productivity and survival (performance) but explicit pathways, nature (additive, multiplicative), relative strengths and sum of effects are generally unknown. This project will employ 1) an intensive literature review to a) identify knowledge gaps in regard to waterfowl life histories and potential strength an direction of climate effects on their seasonal ranges; 2) a questionnaire survey of researchers and managers from seasonal ranges to identify most critically needed life history and habitat information from adjacent ranges (i.e., breeding, stopover, wintering) and an assessment of the relative strength of climate and non-climate stressors on seasonal and annual waterfowl performance; 3) a special session at a regional/national meeting to summarize, discuss and refine the results of 1 and 2 into a draft research framework that emphasizes common and transferrable variables of appropriate temporal and spatial scale. The draft research framework will be distributed to cooperators/partners for review and comment and ultimately published in a peer reviewed journal such as Environmental Management. Personnel will include the PI, Co-PI and a Post-doctoral student. Cooperators and partners will include willing and interested waterfowl researchers and managers within the Alaska, North Central and South Central CSC domains (this includes 9 LCCs, 10 Joint Ventures and multiple State management agencies).
projectStatusIn Progress

Common eiders - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS
Common eiders - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • Alaska CASC
  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers


Fiscal Year
Science Themes
Wildlife and Plants
CMS Themes
CMS Topics



Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 1e4bcc6f-f2fb-4877-929d-e2e6e51d1459
StampID NCCWSC AK14-GD0141

Item Actions

View Item as ...

Save Item as ...

View Item...