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Range-wide wetland associations of the King Rail: A multi-scale approach

January 1, 2015

King Rail populations have declined and identifying wetland features that influence King Rail occupancy can help prevent further population declines. We integrated continent-wide marsh bird survey data with spatial wetland data from the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) to examine wetland features that influenced King Rail occupancy throughout the species’ range. We analyzed wetland data at 7 spatial scales to examine the scale(s) at which 68 wetland features were most strongly related to King Rail occupancy. Occupancy was most strongly associated with estuarine features and brackish and tidal saltwater regimes. King Rail occupancy was positively associated with emergent and scrub-shrub wetlands and negatively associated with forested wetlands. The best spatial scale for assessing King Rail occupancy differed among wetland features; we could not identify one spatial scale (among all wetland features) that best explained variation in occupancy. Future research on King Rail habitat that includes multiple spatial scales is more likely to identify the suite of features that influence occupancy. Our results indicate that NWI data may be useful for predicting occupancy based on broad habitat features across the King Rail’s range, which may help inform management decisions for this and other wetland-dependent birds.

Publication Year 2015
Title Range-wide wetland associations of the King Rail: A multi-scale approach
DOI 10.1007/s13157-015-0648-0
Authors Wesley J. Glisson, Courtney J. Conway, Christopher P. Nadeau, Kathi L. Borgmann, Thomas A. Laxson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wetlands
Index ID 70173769
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle