Science Notebook: Wetlands in New England
Wetlands Science is for the Birds!
At EPA's Atlantic Ecology Division facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island, research ecologist Dr. Rick McKinney is studying habitat differences between wetlands and is starting to learn what makes some habitats prime real estate for our feathered friends. Grab your binoculars and get ready for a field trip!
Wetlands provide a number of benefits to ecosystems and to human society and they also provide habitat for many of the creatures we see every day.
We are studying the ways in which wetlands provide habitat by examining the use of wetlands by birds. We hope to determine what important characteristics enhance their habitat value of certain wetlands and also how human activities can affect their value to other species.
We're particularly interested in smaller, isolated wetlands in urban area e.g., those small and often ignored wetlands behind your local shopping center. While still in the early stages of data collection and analysis, our preliminary results show that these so-called isolated wetlands may have enhanced habitat value to the bird species that inhabit our cities and towns.
Our research will help resource managers who struggle with how to preserve the natural character of the environment in a sustainable way. For example, our results will help to provide information on the benefits of different development scenarios towards maintaining wetland wildlife habitat in a watershed, and may allow us to identify specific characteristics that may enhance the value of developed habitats for naturally-occurring plant and animal species.
Can You Guess the Habitat?
Do you recognize these birds? Which birds live in rural habitats, and which in urban?
Go on a field trip with Rick and visit some of his sampling sites!
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