New research by a Texas Tech University biologist identifies correlations between distribution of wetlands and waterfowl populations, according to Phys.org.
The study, which appeared in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, analyzes past weather data to determine the effects of precipitation conditions on wetland availability. Based on that information, scientists can estimate the number of birds that might exist in a given area in the future.
The research is a working example of macrosystems ecology, an emerging field focusing on the interactions of habitats, and the ways ecosystems react to climate change. Computers are used to quickly analyze the large amounts of data necessary for these predictions.
A $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation helped fund the research.