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Evaluating conservation units using network analysis: A sea duck case study

January 9, 2024

Conserving migratory wildlife requires understanding how groups of individuals interact across seasons and landscapes. Telemetry reveals individual movements at large spatiotemporal scales; however, using movement data to define conservation units requires scaling up from individual movements to species- and community-level patterns. We developed a framework to define flyways and identify important sites from telemetry data and applied it to long-term, range-wide tracking data from three species (640 individuals) of sea ducks: namely, North American scoters (Melanitta spp). Our network of 88 nodes included both multispecies hotspots and areas uniquely important to individual species. We found limited spatial overlap between scoters wintering on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, with differing connectivity patterns between coasts. Finally, we identified four multispecies conservation units that did not correspond to traditional management flyways. From this approach, we show how individual movements can be used to quantify range-wide connectivity of migratory species and reveal gaps in conservation strategies.

Publication Year 2024
Title Evaluating conservation units using network analysis: A sea duck case study
DOI 10.1002/fee.2648
Authors Juliet S. Lamb, Clara Cooper-Mullin, Scott Gilliland, Alicia Berlin, Timothy D. Bowman, Sean Boyd, Susan E. W. De La Cruz, Daniel Esler, Joseph R. Evenson, Paul L. Flint, Christine Lepage, Dustin Meattey, Jason Osenkowski, Peter WC Patton, Matthew Perry, Daniel H. Rosenberg, Jean-Pierre L. Savard, Lucas Savoy, Jason Schamber, David Ward, John Takekawa, Scott R. McWilliams
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Index ID 70250910
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Eastern Ecological Science Center