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Every year, the Arctic dramatically changes as the landscape transitions between winter and summer. Here, the changes in snow cover, vegetation greenness, and sea ice in 1982 are displayed in 10-day intervals from April to early October.  Satellite remote sensing products such as these provide a valuable archive from which to better understand how climate variability and climate change affect wildlife habitats worldwide. Quicktime is required for viewing this animation. In some browsers you may need to right mouse click and activate.

The Habitat Dynamics Project examines how short and long-term changes in the environment affect the distribution and survival of wildlife populations.  An overarching strategy of the Project is to develop new methods that integrate satellite telemetry, remote sensing, meteorology, and GIS technologies. Studies focus on Department of Interior priorities by emphasizing the growing need to understand how changes in climate or land use practices affect wildlife migrations, habitat availability, habitat quality, and population dynamics. Climate is an overarching force that shapes suitability of wildlife habitat resources. Understanding linkages between the physical and biological environment is critical for making informed management decisions in the face of accelerating climate change and expanding human activities.

Emphasis of the Habitat Dynamics Project is placed on the Arctic, where species synchronize their reproductive and migration cycles with the landscape’s pronounced seasonal changes. The Project uses a variety of environmental data sources derived primarily from satellite remote sensing, and a variety of wildlife data through collaborations with other principal investigators. Most studies fall under one of three general themes: 1) observed and future changes in Arctic sea ice and the implications to polar bears and walruses, 2) variations and trends in the timing of spring vegetation growth and the implications to herbivores such as caribou and geese, and 3) dynamics of daily wind conditions and the implications to bird migrations.

Recent Publications

Rode, K. D., E. V. Regehr, D. C. Douglas, G. M. Durner, A. E. Derocher, G. W. Thiemann, and S. M. Budge. 2014. Variation in the response of an Arctic top predator experiencing habitat loss: feeding and reproductive ecology of two polar bear populations. Global Change Biology 20(1):76-88. doi:10.1111/gcb.12339 [Details] [Full Publication]

Gill, R. E., Jr., D. C. Douglas, C. M. Handel, T. L. Tibbitts, G. Hufford, and T. Piersma. 2014. Hemispheric-scale wind selection facilitates bar-tailed godwit circum-migration of the Pacific. Animal Behaviour 90:117-130. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.01.020 [Details] [Full Publication]

Dodge, S., G. Bohrer, R. Weinzierl, S. C. Davidson, R. Kays, D. C. Douglas, S. Cruz, J. Han, D. Brandes, and M. Wikelski. 2013. The Environmental-Data Automated Track Annotation (Env-DATA) System: Linking animal tracks with environmental data. Movement Ecology 1:3. doi:10.1186/2051-3933-1-3 [Details] [Full Publication]

Petersen, M. R., D. C. Douglas, H. M. Wilson, and S. E. McCloskey. 2012. Effects of sea ice on winter site fidelity of Pacific Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima v-nigrum). The Auk 129(3):399-408. doi:10.1525/auk.2012.11256 [Details] [Full Publication]

Douglas, D. C., R. Weinzierl, S. C. Davidson, R. Kays, M. Wikelski, and G. Bohrer. 2012. Moderating Argos location errors in animal tracking data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3(6):999-1007. doi:10.1111/j.2041-210X.2012.00245.x [Details] [Full Publication]

Douglas, D. C. 2011. Sources of global climate data and visualization portals. Pages 101-116 in R. T. Watson, T. J. Cade, M. Fuller, G. Hunt, and E. Potapov, (eds.). Gyrfalcons and Ptarmigan in a Changing World, Conference Proceedings, Volume 1. The Peregrine Fund 322 p. Boise, ID, USA. doi:10.4080/gpcw.2011.0110 [Details] [Full Publication]

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