Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Lover's lane' for birds found in Arctic

Date:
June 22, 2011
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
A new study reveals the critical importance of western Arctic Alaska's Teshekpuk Lake region to tens of thousands of birds that breed in the area during the brief, but productive arctic summers, and makes clearer the case for permanent protection of the area.

Pectoral Sandpiper -- one of the species found to be using the Arctic's Teshekpuk Lake as a "lover's lane."
Credit: Mark Maftei, WCS

A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society reveals the critical importance of western Arctic Alaska's Teshekpuk Lake region to tens of thousands of birds that breed in the area during the brief, but productive arctic summers, and makes clearer the case for permanent protection of the area.

Related Articles


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The Teshekpuk study site exists within a portion of the TLSA that was temporarily withdrawn by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from oil and gas leasing consideration in July of 2010 over concerns for wildlife.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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.R. Liebezeit, G.C. White, S. Zack. Breeding Ecology of Birds at Teshekpuk Lake: A Key Habitat Site on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Arctic, 2011; 64 (1) [link]

Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "'Lover's lane' for birds found in Arctic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310121026.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2011, June 22). 'Lover's lane' for birds found in Arctic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310121026.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "'Lover's lane' for birds found in Arctic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310121026.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins