Jane E Austin, PhD
Research Wildlife Biologist
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
8711 37Th Street SE
Jamestown, ND 58401
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.
Science and Products
Habitat selection by postbreeding female diving ducks: Influence of habitat attributes and conspecifics
Habitat selection studies of postbreeding waterfowl have rarely focused on within-wetland attributes such as water depth, escape cover, and food availability. Flightless waterfowl must balance habitat selection between avoiding predation risks and feeding. Reproductively successful female ducks face the greatest challenges because they begin the definitive prebasic molt at or near the end of...Austin, Jane E.; O'Neil, Shawn T.; Warren, Jeffrey M.
Three responses of wetland conditions to climatic extremes in the Prairie Pothole Region
Wetlands in central North Dakota were revisited after 50 years to assess changes following extreme drought and a prolonged wet period. We compared data collected during 1961–1966 to current (2013–2014) wetland conditions. We revisited 80 wetlands in 2013 and 2014 across three study areas and measured wetland area, ponded-water depth, and specific conductance. Wetlands at the three study areas...Cressey, Ryann L.; Austin, Jane; Stafford, Joshua D.
Evaluation of autonomous recording units for detecting 3 species of secretive marsh birds
Population status and habitat use of yellow rails (Coturnicops noveboracensis), Nelson's sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni), and Le Conte's sparrows (A. leconteii) are poorly known, so standardized surveys of these species are needed to inform conservation planning and management. A protocol for monitoring secretive marsh birds exists; however, these species regularly call at night and may be missed...Sidie-Slettehahl, Anna M.; Jensen, Kent C.; Johnson, Rex R.; Arnold, Todd W.; Austin, Jane; Stafford, Joshua D.
Waterfowl populations of conservation concern: learning from diverse challenges, models, and conservation strategies
There are 30 threatened or endangered species of waterfowl worldwide, and several sub-populations are also threatened. Some of these species occur in North America, and others there are also of conservation concern due to declining population trends and their importance to hunters. Here we review conservation initiatives being undertaken for several of these latter species, along with...Austin, Jane E.; Slattery, Stuart; Clark, Robert G.
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
No abstract available.Anteau, Michael J.; DeVink, Jean-Michel; Koons, David N.; Austin, Jane E.; Custer, Christine M.; Afton, Alan D.
Legacy data for a northern prairie grassland: Woodworth Study Area, North Dakota, 1963-89
Ecological data commonly become more valuable through time. Such legacy data provide baseline records of past biological, physical, and social information that provide historical perspective and are necessary for assessment of stasis or change. Legacy data collected at the Woodworth Study Area (WSA), a contiguous block of grasslands, croplands, and wetlands covering more than 1,000 hectares of...Williams, Shelby H.; Austin, Jane E.