Breeding birds and anurans of dynamic coastal wetlands in Green Bay, Lake Michigan

Erin E. Gnass Giese, Robert W. Howe, Amy T. Wolf, Gerald J. Niemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Breeding birds and anurans (frogs and toads) in coastal wetlands of Green Bay, Lake Michigan vary dynamically with changing water levels, habitat type, and geography. We describe species assemblages over a seven-year period (2011–2017) beginning with historic low water levels followed by an increase in average lake level of 0.85 m. In general, species richness and abundance of marsh-obligate species responded positively to increasing water levels, although several species of shallow wetlands (sandhill crane, sedge wren, swamp sparrow, and American toad) showed the opposite trend. Anuran assemblages were more diverse in the middle and upper bay, coinciding with a well-established nutrient gradient from the hypereutrophic lower bay to more oligotrophic waters of the upper bay. Three marsh-obligate bird species (black tern, sandhill crane, and sedge wren) were significantly more abundant in the middle or upper bay while sora, American coot, and common gallinule were more abundant in the eutrophic lower bay. Our findings have several important implications for conservation. Inland wetlands near the coast (including diked wetlands) might play a key ecological role by providing refugia for some species during low water years. However, the importance of shallow coastal wetlands and nearshore gradients of wetland habitat might be overlooked during low water years; when high water returns, these areas can become extremely productive and species-rich.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-959
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program (CWMP) and these analyses was provided by the Great Lakes National Program Office under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), grant numbers GL-00E00612-0 and 00E01567. Additional funding for these analyses was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' (WDNR) Office of Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GL-00E01312 sub 4). Although the research described in this work has been partly funded by the USEPA, it has not been subjected to the agency's required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. We are also grateful for the continued CWMP leadership provided by Donald Uzarski, Valerie Brady, and Matthew Cooper. Our colleagues Douglas Tozer, Thomas Gehring, Gregory Grabas, Christopher Norment, Annie Bracey, Nicholas Walton, Douglas Wilcox, Terry Brown, Lucinda Johnson, Nicholas Danz, George Host, Jan Ciborowski, Dennis Albert, and other collaborators have provided valuable discussions and insights during recent Great Lakes coastal wetland monitoring efforts. We appreciate administrative support from the USEPA, WDNR, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, particularly Kimberlee McKeefry and the Facilities Management office. Data used in these analyses were collected by nearly 40 staff, students, and volunteers from UW-Green Bay. We are especially grateful for considerable contributions made by Nicholas Walton, Thomas Prestby, Stephanie Beilke, Jesse Weinzinger, and Chelsea Gunther, who have conducted the majority of CWMP field surveys for three or more years, as well as dedicated volunteers, Lindsey Bender and Ashley Spink. We also thank Julia Noordyk for her insight on Great Lakes water levels and many private landowners, state agencies, non-profit organizations, and others for granting us access to their properties. We are grateful for the constructive comments and recommendations provided by two anonymous reviewers of this manuscript.

Funding Information:
Funding for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program (CWMP) and these analyses was provided by the Great Lakes National Program Office under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), grant numbers GL-00E00612-0 and 00E01567. Additional funding for these analyses was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Office of Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GL-00E01312 sub 4). Although the research described in this work has been partly funded by the USEPA, it has not been subjected to the agency's required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. We are also grateful for the continued CWMP leadership provided by Donald Uzarski, Valerie Brady, and Matthew Cooper. Our colleagues Douglas Tozer, Thomas Gehring, Gregory Grabas, Christopher Norment, Annie Bracey, Nicholas Walton, Douglas Wilcox, Terry Brown, Lucinda Johnson, Nicholas Danz, George Host, Jan Ciborowski, Dennis Albert, and other collaborators have provided valuable discussions and insights during recent Great Lakes coastal wetland monitoring efforts. We appreciate administrative support from the USEPA, WDNR, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, particularly Kimberlee McKeefry and the Facilities Management office. Data used in these analyses were collected by nearly 40 staff, students, and volunteers from UW-Green Bay. We are especially grateful for considerable contributions made by Nicholas Walton, Thomas Prestby, Stephanie Beilke, Jesse Weinzinger, and Chelsea Gunther, who have conducted the majority of CWMP field surveys for three or more years, as well as dedicated volunteers, Lindsey Bender and Ashley Spink. We also thank Julia Noordyk for her insight on Great Lakes water levels and many private landowners, state agencies, non-profit organizations, and others for granting us access to their properties. We are grateful for the constructive comments and recommendations provided by two anonymous reviewers of this manuscript.

Funding Information:
Funding for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program (CWMP) and these analyses was provided by the Great Lakes National Program Office under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), grant numbers GL-00E00612-0 and 00E01567 . Additional funding for these analyses was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ' (WDNR) Office of Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ( GL-00E01312 sub 4 ). Although the research described in this work has been partly funded by the USEPA, it has not been subjected to the agency's required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. We are also grateful for the continued CWMP leadership provided by Donald Uzarski, Valerie Brady, and Matthew Cooper. Our colleagues Douglas Tozer, Thomas Gehring, Gregory Grabas, Christopher Norment, Annie Bracey, Nicholas Walton, Douglas Wilcox, Terry Brown, Lucinda Johnson, Nicholas Danz, George Host, Jan Ciborowski, Dennis Albert, and other collaborators have provided valuable discussions and insights during recent Great Lakes coastal wetland monitoring efforts. We appreciate administrative support from the USEPA, WDNR, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, particularly Kimberlee McKeefry and the Facilities Management office. Data used in these analyses were collected by nearly 40 staff, students, and volunteers from UW-Green Bay. We are especially grateful for considerable contributions made by Nicholas Walton, Thomas Prestby, Stephanie Beilke, Jesse Weinzinger, and Chelsea Gunther, who have conducted the majority of CWMP field surveys for three or more years, as well as dedicated volunteers, Lindsey Bender and Ashley Spink. We also thank Julia Noordyk for her insight on Great Lakes water levels and many private landowners, state agencies, non-profit organizations, and others for granting us access to their properties. We are grateful for the constructive comments and recommendations provided by two anonymous reviewers of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 International Association for Great Lakes Research

Keywords

  • Anurans
  • Birds
  • Great Lakes coastal wetland
  • Green Bay
  • Water level

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