To evaluate the importance of large thaw lakes on the Alaska Coastal Plain for molting Pacific black brant Branta bernicla nigricans, distribution and life form of shoreline vegetation were assessed using several scales: satellite imagery, point-intercept transects, cover quadrats, and a parameter for water regime. Brant population and distribution estimates from aerial surveys were used to classify large lakes into high, moderate, and low use. Correlations between brant and abundance of their preferred feeding site - moss flats - were best demonstrated by satellite imagery. Intercepts and cover ratings were not correlated, presumably because these techniques were less efficient at assessing area. General observations suggested that the presence of islands, large ice floes, and possibly other physical attributes of the habitat, influenced brant distribution. This area is unique because of low-lying, drained-lake basins that have ideal combinations of moss flats and large water areas where brant seek protection disturbance is vital to the success of this declining species because alternate habitats may not be available elsewhere on the Coastal Plain. in water or on ice floes. Protection of the area from disturbance is vital to the success of this declining species because alternate habitats may not be available elsewhere on the Coastal Plain.
|Title||Assessment of shoreline vegetation in relation to use by molting black brant <i>Branta bernicla nigricans</i> on the Alaska Coastal Plain|
|Authors||Milton W. Weller, K. C. Jensen, Eric J. Taylor, Mark W. Miller, Karen S. Bollinger, Dirk V. Derksen, Daniel Esler, Carl J. Markon|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Biological Conservation|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center|