Final Report: The Influence of Fall Storms on Nest Densities of Geese and Eiders on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of Alaska

Metadata Updated: November 12, 2020

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of Alaska is a globally important region for numerous avian species including millions of migrating and nesting waterbirds. Climate change effects such as sea level rise and increased storm frequency and intensity have the potential to impact waterbird populations and breeding habitat. In order to determine the potential impacts of these climate-mediated changes, we investigated both short-term and long-term impacts of storm surges to geese and eider species that commonly breed on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. To determine short-term impacts, we compared nest densities of geese and eiders in relation to the magnitude of storms that occurred in the prior fall from 2000–2013. Additionally, we modeled geese and eider nest densities using random forests in relation to the time-integrated flood index (i.e., a storm-specific measure that accounts for both water depth and the amount of time the flooding occurred on the landscape) for four modeled storms (i.e., 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2011), as well as other environmental covariates. To determine long-term impacts, we modeled geese and eider nest densities using random forests in relation to the annual inundation index (i.e., a time-static storm footprint calculated based on the time-integrated flood index for seven modeled storms and their annual return rate), as well as other environmental covariates over a longer time frame (1985–2013). We failed to find any short-term or long-term impacts of storms on nesting geese and eiders, with storm magnitude, the time-integrated flood index, and the annual inundation index explaining little of the variation in geese and eider nest densities. Rather, other environmental variables such as distance to coast appeared to be more influential to both annual and long-term nest densities. The sampling design and the limited availability of inundation projections may have precluded us from finding a storm effect if one existed. For example, the monitoring design in which plots were surveyed once for waterbird nests then specifically not revisited the next five years precluded a more focused assessment comparing spatial distribution of nest densities immediately before and after specific storms. Additionally, the temporal and spatial scale of the nest density and storm surge data may have been inadequate to detect trends if they existed. Future studies should implement more targeted sampling designs to determine if the apparent lack of an effect is real or simply reflects limitations of the sampling design, as well as investigate other demographic parameters (e.g., clutch size, nest success, fledgling success) that may be more impacted by storm surges.

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Dates

Metadata Date 2019-09-09T04:01:52-08:00
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Reference Date(s) August 26, 2016 (released)
Frequency Of Update notPlanned

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Harvested from DOI Open Data

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Report
Metadata Date 2019-09-09T04:01:52-08:00
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Reference Date(s) August 26, 2016 (released)
Responsible Party (Point of Contact); Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative (Point of Contact, Publisher)
Contact Email
Guid 3306c810-07a0-482b-a616-78d2b64b65cb
Access Constraints
Bbox East Long -164.65327583534
Bbox North Lat 61.731571998911
Bbox South Lat 60.802111484499
Bbox West Long -166.21882759315
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update notPlanned
Licence While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. The Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty., null
Metadata Language
Metadata Type geospatial
Progress completed
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System
Spatial Harvester True

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