Mikayla M. House

Mikayla M. House (M.S.)
Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Major Adivsor: Bart M. Ballard, Ph.D

Modeling Foraging Habitat for Shorebirds in the Laguna Madre

Continued population growth and urban development along the Texas coast have reduced stopover opportunities for migratory shorebirds; therefore, understanding the availability of stopover habitat within the Laguna Madre will only become more important for successful management and conservation. I am working to develop a model that will estimate the temporal and spatial availability of shorebird foraging habitat in the Laguna Madre during spring migration. The model will be informed by several spatial datasets that provide information on benthic habitats, seagrass meadows, and benthic elevation. I will account for water movement through the use of satellite imagery, waterline coordinates, weather data, and tidal fluctuations. The completed model will delineate potential foraging habitat throughout the Laguna Madre and will examine the fine-scale spatio-temporal availability of shorebird foraging habitat at specific study sites. This model will act as a tool that will allow managers to prioritize areas for conservation, and inform them of the potential environmental impacts of future development in and around the Laguna Madre.

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