JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Presenter Information

Clay BliznickFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biological Sciences

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Howard Whiteman, PhD. Andrea Darracq, PhD.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Anthropogenic influences have altered global landscapes considerably throughout the past two centuries, resulting in the decline of natural land cover types. Conversely, land cover types such as cropland and urban areas that are derived from human activities have experienced vast expansion. This landscape transition has serious implications for ecosystem services. To mitigate the loss of these services, it is necessary to maintain ecological integrity within these anthropogenically-influenced systems. Being able to support high biodiversity is an indicator of well-functioning ecosystems, thus quantifying biodiversity and assessing its contributing factors can be useful for developing management strategies in artificial environments. Our objective was to examine avian diversity across an urban region in Louisville, KY and use modeling to assess local environmental factors that best predict diversity. We conducted point counts at sites (n=140) in the summers of 2019 and 2020 and quantified avian diversity at site over both years. Around each point, we also collected small-scale vegetation data (50m) and larger-scale remote sensing data (100m and 250m). A priori models were built using diversity as response variables with environmental predictors and were tested using Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). The top models for three diversity metrics (Species richness, Shannon’s index, and Simpson’s index) included mean leaf area index at 250m and distance to nearest park (>1km in size) as predictor variables, and the top species richness model also incorporated evergreen shrub density. It may be important to prioritize metrics such as these when implementing urban landscape design and management to maximize avian biodiversity.

Spring Scholars Week 2021 Event

Sigma Xi Poster Competition

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Using modeling to investigate factors driving avian diversity in urban ecosystems

Anthropogenic influences have altered global landscapes considerably throughout the past two centuries, resulting in the decline of natural land cover types. Conversely, land cover types such as cropland and urban areas that are derived from human activities have experienced vast expansion. This landscape transition has serious implications for ecosystem services. To mitigate the loss of these services, it is necessary to maintain ecological integrity within these anthropogenically-influenced systems. Being able to support high biodiversity is an indicator of well-functioning ecosystems, thus quantifying biodiversity and assessing its contributing factors can be useful for developing management strategies in artificial environments. Our objective was to examine avian diversity across an urban region in Louisville, KY and use modeling to assess local environmental factors that best predict diversity. We conducted point counts at sites (n=140) in the summers of 2019 and 2020 and quantified avian diversity at site over both years. Around each point, we also collected small-scale vegetation data (50m) and larger-scale remote sensing data (100m and 250m). A priori models were built using diversity as response variables with environmental predictors and were tested using Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). The top models for three diversity metrics (Species richness, Shannon’s index, and Simpson’s index) included mean leaf area index at 250m and distance to nearest park (>1km in size) as predictor variables, and the top species richness model also incorporated evergreen shrub density. It may be important to prioritize metrics such as these when implementing urban landscape design and management to maximize avian biodiversity.

 

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