Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. Kimberly A. Sullivan
We equipped 28 Marbled Godwit from four locations in North America with miniature satellite transmitters to determine migration routes, strategy, and connectivity. Godwits captured in Utah (n = 13) went to breeding sites in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana and North Dakota and wintered along the Baja Peninsula and west coast of mainland Mexico. They used Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (BRMBR), Utah as a stopover during both north and southbound migration. Godwits captured on Akimiski Island, Nunavut, Canada (n = 7) migrated through the midcontinent USA and wintered at sites along the Gulf of California, Sonora, Mexico. There is overlap in use of Mexico winter and stopover areas between the birds from Akimiski Island and those captured in Utah. Godwits captured in Georgia on the Atlantic coast (n = 6) migrated to breeding grounds in North and South Dakota. Godwits wintering along the Atlantic coast breed in close proximity to those originating from Mexico wintering sites and using BRMBR as a stopover. Godwits tagged on Akimiski Island traveled significantly farther during southbound migration (3862 km) than did godwits tagged in Utah (2533 km) and Georgia (2204 km) (P < 0.001). Godwits tagged in Utah traveled the shortest distance to the first stopover during southbound migration (670 km) (P < 0.001). This short distance between stopovers is characteristic of a “hopping” migration strategy, which is different than the intermediate “skipping” distances traveled by godwits from Canada (1925 km) and Georgia (2204 km), to their first stopover. Utah godwits also had the shortest residency period on winter habitats (174 days) (P < 0.001). Georgia godwits had the shortest southbound migration duration (2 days) (P < 0.02), the shortest residency period at breeding habitats (56 days) (P < 0.01) and the longest residency period on the wintering grounds (303 days) (P < 0.003). (152 pages)
Olson, Bridget E., "The Biogeography of Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) Populations in North America" (2011). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1119.
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