Jane Austin


My research has focused on the ecology of wetland birds and their habitat and habitat management practices, and on information transfer through publications, synthesis products, and workshops. Originally trained and focused on waterfowl ecology and management, my interests and research have expanded over time to other waterbirds and the ecology of their wetland habitats, the role of fire in wetlands, and using science in conservation planning.  Past research includes breeding ecology of sandhill cranes, and effects of grazing and burning on biota, at Grays Lake NWR, Idaho; waterfowl distribution in the national grasslands of the western Dakotas, and development of the first implementation plan for the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture.  Recent investigations include evaluating the role of fire in sedge meadows relative to yellow rails, other birds, and vegetation at Seney NWR; use of digital audio recorders for monitoring secretive marshbirds such as yellow rails; and implications of climate change on refuge wetland management and monitoring.  I have been instrumental in scaup conservation planning through various workshops and the development of a comprehensive conservation action plan for greater and lesser scaup, in close cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Flyways.  Currently, my research and writing is focused on scaup population dynamics at Red Rocks Lake NWR, revisiting the wetland plant communities used by Stewart and Kantrud for the development of their 1971 wetland classification system, and relationships between cranes and agriculture at an international scale.  I serve on the Technical Committee of the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture, Ornithological Council, and IUCN's Crane Specialist Group.  I received my PhD and MS at University of Missouri, studying the winter ecology of Canada geese and post-breeding ecology of female lesser scaup.