Date of Completion

2016

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Environmental Sciences

Type of Thesis

Honors College

First Advisor

Allan Strong

Keywords

bird migration, citizen science, synchrony, climate change, science art, scientific communication

Abstract

Bird migration is just one example of how accelerating environmental variation caused by climate change has imposed pressure on organisms to adapt more quickly than the background pace of evolution. The timing and spatial orientation of bird migration is crucial for successful breeding and the long term survival of species. If the window of optimal breeding conditions is shifting with changing climate, it is crucial to understand the flexibility that species have to alter their migration patterns, if at all. I used citizen science data from eBird.org to observe mean arrival day of both Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) and Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceous) in Vermont from 2008 through 2015. The correlation between the monthly temperature and mean arrival date for these species was assessed through multivariate regression modeling. The most significant determinants of arrival day for these two species were elevation and latitude, which can be used as proxies for climate (n = 843, p < 0.001, r2 = 0.45). The methods and insight into the strengths and limitations of citizen science can be used to inform further research and wildlife management.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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