Thursday, August 6, 2009 - 9:50 AM

OOS 36-6: Laser remote sensing of bird species richness and habitat use in the Northeastern United States

Scott Goetz1, Daniel Steinberg2, Matthew G. Betts3, Richard T. Holmes4, Patrick J. Doran5, Ralph Dubayah6, and Michelle Hofton6. (1) Woods Hole Research Center, (2) Yale University, (3) Oregon State University, (4) Dartmouth College, (5) The Nature Conservancy, (6) University of Maryland


A current challenge in biodiversity research is understanding the effect of vegetation structure on the potential of an ecosystem to support species richness and habitat use. We take advantage of the utility of satellite remote sensing, specifically lidar, for improving characterization of habitat structure and apply those advances to an exploration of bird habitat use in New England USA. Results/Conclusions

In this study, we find that lidar metrics of canopy vertical structure and complexity provide unique and significant information for models of habitat use of a neotropical migrant bird species, the black-throated blue warbler, in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH. Lidar metrics describing the vertical distribution of canopy elements and the complexity of canopy elements are thus both useful and important for biodiversity research, although we find that other aspects of habitat are equally important, including the type and seasonality of vegetation. Together these variables provide complementary information that advance biodiversity research and emphasize the relevance of remote sensing observations.