Conservation and management for a species requires reliable information on its status, distribution, and habitat use. We identified occupancy and distributions of king (Rallus elegans) and clapper (R. crepitans) rail populations in marsh complexes along the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers in Virginia, USA by modeling data on vocalizations recorded from autonomous recording units (ARUs). Occupancy probability for both species combined was 0.64 (95% CI: 0.53, 0.75) in marshes along the Pamunkey and 0.59 (0.45, 0.72) in marshes along the Mattaponi. Occupancy probability along the Pamunkey was strongly influenced by salinity, increasing logistically by a factor of 1.62 (0.6, 2.65) per parts per thousand of salinity. In contrast, there was not a strong salinity gradient on the Mattaponi and therefore vegetative community structure determined occupancy probability on that river. Estimated detection probability across both marshes was 0.63 (0.62, 0.65), but detection rates decreased as the season progressed. Monitoring wildlife within wetlands presents unique challenges for conservation managers. Our findings provide insight not only into how rails responded to environmental variation but also into the general utility of ARUs for occupancy modeling of the distribution and habitat associations of rails within tidal marsh systems.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Occupancy modeling of autonomously recorded vocalizations to predict distribution of rallids in tidal wetlands|
|Contributing office(s)||Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Mattaponi River, Pamunkey River|