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2 October 2008 Space-based ornithology: studying bird migration and environmental change in North America
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Natural fluctuations in the availability of critical stopover sites coupled with anthropogenic destruction of wetlands, land-use change, and anticipated losses due to climate change present migratory birds with a formidable challenge. Space based technology in concert with bird migration modeling and geographical information analysis yields new opportunities to shed light on the distribution and movement of organisms on the planet and their sensitivity to human disturbances and environmental changes. At the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, we are creating ecological forecasting tools for science and application users to address the consequences of loss of wetlands, flooding, drought or other natural disasters such as hurricanes on avian biodiversity and bird migration. We use an individual-based bird biophysical migration model, driven by remotely sensed land surface data, climate and hydrologic data, and biological field observations to study migratory bird responses to environmental change in North America. Simulation allows us to study bird migration across multiple scales and can be linked to mechanistic processes describing the time and energy budget states of migrating birds. We illustrate our approach by simulating the spring migration of pectoral sandpipers from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. Mean stopover length and trajectory patterns are consistent with field observations.
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James A. Smith and Jill L. Deppe "Space-based ornithology: studying bird migration and environmental change in North America", Proc. SPIE 7104, Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology X, 710402 (2 October 2008);

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