SEAFWA 2018 has ended
The following schedule is from the 72nd Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies which was held October 21-24, 2018 in Mobile, Alabama. 
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Tuesday, October 23 • 9:20am - 9:40am
Wildlife 2 Track: Multi-scale Abundance and Distribution Trends of Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) in the Mississippi Delta

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AUTHORS:  Paul C. Burr, Mississippi State University; Jimmy L. Avery, Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center; Garrett M. Street, Mississippi State University; Bronson K. Strickland, Mississippi State University; Brian S. Dorr, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT:  Double-crested cormorants are a piscivorous avian species that has an extensive history of human-wildlife conflict with the aquaculture industry of Mississippi due to their depredation of cultured catfish. A large scale monitoring program was implemented by the USDA, NWRC in 1989 to estimate both the abundance and distribution of cormorants at every known roost in the primary catfish producing region of the state, regionally known as the Mississippi Delta. We used this extensive data set to address various hypotheses pertaining to cormorant ecology within the Delta region over time, particularly in relation to aquaculture. We found that although the Midwest breeding population of cormorants has been increasing, the abundance of cormorants wintering in the Delta has been decreasing, closely following the decline of aquaculture acreage. This finding suggests aquaculture is a driving factor of cormorant inhabitation. We also found the phenology of peak cormorant abundance in the Delta has changed, with peak abundance occurring earlier every year. Specifically, peak cormorant abundance in the 1990’s occurred in mid-February, but currently occurs in mid-January. Finally, we modeled roost abundance against various covariates to determine important factors influencing the distribution of cormorants at roosting locations. The amount of aquaculture around a given roost was positively related to cormorant abundance, and average abundance increased from October to January, then steadily declined thereafter. Information gained using this large dataset aids in cormorant damage mitigation, as well as furthering our understanding of cormorant ecology, particularly in relation to foraging behavior at aquaculture facilities.

Tuesday October 23, 2018 9:20am - 9:40am CDT
Bon Secour Bay II

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