Habitats of North American sea ducks.

By: , and 



Breeding, molting, fall and spring staging, and wintering habitats of the sea duck tribe Mergini are described based on geographic locations and distribution in North America, geomorphology, vegetation and soil types, and fresh water and marine characteristics. The dynamics of habitats are discussed in light of natural and anthropogenic events that shape areas important to sea ducks. Strategies for sea duck habitat management are outlined and recommendations for international collaboration to preserve key terrestrial and aquatic habitats are advanced. We follow the definition of habitat advanced by Odum (1971), which is the place or space where an organism lives. Weller (1999) emphasized that habitats for waterbirds required presence of sufficient resources (i.e., food, water, cover, space) for maintenance during a portion of their annual cycle. Habitats exploited by North American sea ducks are diverse, widespread across the continent and adjacent marine waters and until recently, most were only superficially known. A 15-year-long effort funded research on sea duck habitats through the Sea Duck Joint Venture and the Endangered or Threatened Species programs of the United States and Canada. Nevertheless, important gaps remain in our understanding of key elements required by some species during various life stages. Many significant habitats, especially staging and wintering sites, have been and continue to be destroyed or altered by anthropogenic activities. The goal of this chapter is to develop a comprehensive summary of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats and their characteristics by considering sea duck species with similar needs as groups within the tribe Mergini. Additionally, we examine threats and changes to sea duck habitats from human-caused and natural events. Last, we evaluate conservation and management programs underway or available for maintenance and enhancement of habitats critical for sea ducks.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Habitats of North American sea ducks.
Chapter 13
ISBN 9781482248975
Volume 46
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher CRC Press
Publisher location Boca Raton, FL
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 60 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Ecology and conservation of North American sea ducks; Studies in Avian Biology v. 46
First page 469
Last page 528
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N