Results of the four-year study—the first to look at the full suite of bird species from around the world that descend on the Teshekpuk Lake region—showed that the region contains some of the highest nesting bird densities and nest productivity across Alaska's Arctic.
The study appears in the March issue of the peer-reviewed journal Arctic. Authors include Joe Liebezeit and Steve Zack of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Gary White, a statistician from Colorado State University.
"This is the first study to investigate breeding bird densities and measure how well birds are able to produce young in this remote and important region near Teshekpuk Lake," said the study's lead author, Joe Liebezeit. "We found that the density of nesting birds was markedly higher compared to many other sites in Arctic Alaska."
The Teshekpuk Lake Special Area (TLSA) in the National Petroleum Reserve –Alaska (NPR-A) has long been recognized as an important site for wildlife. Tens of thousands of geese migrate there to molt in summer and a 70,000-strong Caribou herd—critical to North Slope natives for subsistence hunting —calves its young in the TLSA.
The Teshekpuk study site exists within a portion of the TLSA that was temporarily withdrawn by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from oil and gas leasing consideration in July of 2010 over concerns for wildlife.
WCS North America Program Director Dr. Jodi Hilty said, "Given the results of this study, and previous studies conducted by WCS and other scientists, we recommend that the region of 10-year development deferral be granted permanent protection. "
During the study, WCS scientists calculated nest densities (number of nests per unit of area) at the remote Teshekpuk site. Those results were compared to six other areas (including both human impacted and remote sites) where nest densities were measured in previous studies. The results showed that Teshekpuk densities far exceeded those at the other locations.
Additionally, nests were periodically monitored every 3-6 days at Teshekpuk and at a site in the Prudhoe Bay region 150 miles to the east where oil extraction activities are occurring. Results showed that for some species, nest survivorship (production of young) was higher at Teshekpuk.
WCS's Conservation Zoologist Steve Zack said: "Teshekpuk Lake is in the middle of the world's biggest Arctic wetland, and thus at the heart of an international migration of shorebirds, waterfowl, loons, and songbirds that nest in this highly productive region during the short summer. This study makes clear how valuable this region is to breeding birds."
Currently, BLM is evaluating how best to balance wildlife protection and future energy development in the NPR-A. WCS has been engaged in the western Arctic for 10 years, identifying where wildlife protection would be most effective in the NPR-A in advance of development. The results of the study will help inform BLM's decision-making process.
Support for the study was provided by: grants of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, Alcoa Foundation, and The Walt Disney Company. WCS is grateful to BP [exploration] Alaska, Inc. for in-kind support and to the North Slope Borough, specifically Robert Suydam, for assisting with the logistics and supply runs for the Teshekpuk field site. WCS thanks the Institute of International Education for coordination of activities in association with the Alcoa Foundation.
For more information or to speak with WCS scientists about this study, please call Scott Smith at 406-522-9333 ext.116, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org and www.wcsnorthamerica.org/WildPlaces/ArcticAlaska/tabid/3640/Default.aspx
If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation.
Scott Smith | EurekAlert!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.03.2018 | Life Sciences