First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Jonathan AustinFollow
Alexandra BelotiiFollow

Mentor/s

Dr. Jennifer Mattei

Participation Type

Poster

Abstract

Due to excesive human development along coastal regions, coastal grasslands are one of the rarest habitats in the Northeastern U.S., particularly in Connecticut. After intensive remediation in the early 2000s on 26 acres of upland at Stratford Point, CT, 20 acres of grassland was seeded with common native grass species such as switch grass (Panicum virgatum), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). The site was burned once in 2012. Several acres of missing coastal habitats surrounding the newly restored grassland have been recently restored since 2014 including saltmarsh (4 acres), meadow (2 acres) and forest/shrub (2 acres). We hypothesized that rare grassland bird species may begin to visit the site during spring or fall migrations. Using eBird (ebird.org), we examined observation data, particularly for grassland birds including grasshopper sparrows, savannah sparrows, eastern meadowlarks, and bobolinks, some of which are threatened or endangered in CT. Preliminary analysis reveals a mix of species have been sited both before and after restoration and at different times of the year. However, since 2012, 62 new bird species have visited the site. In the fall of 2016, both the eastern meadowlark and grasshopper sparrow visited the site for the first time which may be an indication that the coastal grassland habitat has improved. However, this habitat is not large enough for these species to breed here.

College and Major available

Biology

Course Name and Number, Professor Name

Restoration Ecology BI-378-A, Dr. Mattei

Location

Digital Commons & West Campus West Building

Start Day/Time

4-29-2022 1:00 PM

End Day/Time

4-29-2022 4:00 PM

Students' Information

Both students are Biology majors graduating 2023.

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Apr 29th, 1:00 PM Apr 29th, 4:00 PM

Small Grassland Restorations may not be Enough to Restore Local Bird Diversity

Digital Commons & West Campus West Building

Due to excesive human development along coastal regions, coastal grasslands are one of the rarest habitats in the Northeastern U.S., particularly in Connecticut. After intensive remediation in the early 2000s on 26 acres of upland at Stratford Point, CT, 20 acres of grassland was seeded with common native grass species such as switch grass (Panicum virgatum), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). The site was burned once in 2012. Several acres of missing coastal habitats surrounding the newly restored grassland have been recently restored since 2014 including saltmarsh (4 acres), meadow (2 acres) and forest/shrub (2 acres). We hypothesized that rare grassland bird species may begin to visit the site during spring or fall migrations. Using eBird (ebird.org), we examined observation data, particularly for grassland birds including grasshopper sparrows, savannah sparrows, eastern meadowlarks, and bobolinks, some of which are threatened or endangered in CT. Preliminary analysis reveals a mix of species have been sited both before and after restoration and at different times of the year. However, since 2012, 62 new bird species have visited the site. In the fall of 2016, both the eastern meadowlark and grasshopper sparrow visited the site for the first time which may be an indication that the coastal grassland habitat has improved. However, this habitat is not large enough for these species to breed here.

 

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