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Persistence and abundance of the Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) in Alberta Open Access


Other title
Aechmophorus occidentalis
Western Grebe
abundance modelling
persistence modelling
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Erickson, Mara E
Supervisor and department
Boyce, Mark S. (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Found, Christine (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development)
Bayne, Erin (Biological Sciences)
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
Foote, A. Lee (Renewable Resources)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis, WEGR) is a Species of Special Concern in Alberta, declining in distribution and abundance. I evaluated how environmental variables including emergent vegetation, human developments, and prey availability affected WEGR persistence and abundance on 43 lakes in Alberta that historically supported WEGR. Persistence and abundance of WEGR were correlated, and both were positively associated with shoreline bulrush (Scirpus lacustris) and human development within a 500m buffer surrounding the lake, while inversely associated with surrounding forest. Bulrush provides important habitat for nesting, and WEGR are likely to occur on the same large fish-bearing lakes that humans prefer for recreation. However, this relationship with development puts grebes at risk for disturbance and habitat loss—a primary threat to endangered birds. I recommend shoreline vegetation be protected for the success of breeding grebes, and human activity around colonies should be kept to a minimum to curb further WEGR decline.
License granted by Mara Erickson ( on 2010-04-15T19:15:53Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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