Michael W.D. Mccloy

Michael W.D. McCloy (M.S.)
Texas A&M Univesity – College Station
Major Advisor: Jacquelyn K. Grace, Ph.D.

Avian Community Response to a Natural Disturbance

The concept of resilience, or the ability of a system to return to its original state after a disruption, is a critical component of understanding ecosystem processes. Changes in populations over time are relatively well-studied in North American bird communities, but the resilience capacity of these communities is not. As the frequency and intensity of natural disturbances such as hurricanes are expected to continue to rise, there is an ever-growing importance placed on understanding how natural communities and ecosystems recover from these oftentimes catastrophic events. This research investigates the ecological response and resilience capacity of avian communities following hurricanes. The impacts of Hurricane Harvey in the coastal bend region of Texas present a valuable opportunity to investigate how local avian populations and community compositions change over time in the years immediately following this disturbance. This project couples large existing avian datasets with 1) historic avian population and productivity data for the Welder Wildlife Refuge and 2) intensive field monitoring and experimental work to determine how avian communities respond to hurricanes in terms of diversity, abundance, and community structuring. After two field seasons we are now processing preliminary results.

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