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Constructing and evaluating a continent-wide migratory songbird network across the annual cycle

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Title: Constructing and evaluating a continent-wide migratory songbird network across the annual cycle
Author: Knight, Samantha
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Norris, D. Ryan
Abstract: Information about how migratory animals are spatially connected between periods of the annual cycle is essential for understanding the effects of environmental change and developing optimal conservation strategies. I constructed a migratory network for a songbird, the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), using year-round movements derived from 133 light-level geolocators attached to individuals originating from 12 breeding sites across North America. I identified 10 autumn stopover nodes (regions) in North America, 13 non-breeding nodes around the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and 136 unique migratory pathways connecting these nodes. Using network-based metrics, I ranked the stopover and non-breeding nodes based on their contribution to network connectivity and identified three distinct ‘communities’ of nodes that corresponded to western, central, and eastern flyways. This study highlights how network-based metrics can be valuable for identifying overall network structure and prioritizing specific regions within the network, information that is crucial for effectively conserving migratory species.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/11411
Date: 2017-08-02


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