Attracting Conspecifics and Manipulating Interspe-cific Interactions to Achieve Conservation Goals

Michael P. Ward, Valerie Buxton, Janice Enos, Sean Macdonald, Nick Anich, Jinelle Sperry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Humans alter ecosystems in ways that can change howspecies interact and behave, presenting challenges toconservation efforts. Behavioral manipulation with so-cial cues may be a valuable management tool to achieveconservation goals. We will highlight two separateresearch studies conducted in Hawaii and Wisconsinwhere we experimentally manipulated social cues for conservation purposes. On Oahu, Hawaii, native fru-givorous birds are extinct and native plant recruitmentis depressed due to poor seed dispersal. To attractintroduced bird species to native plants and facilitateseed dispersal, we broadcast vocalizations of these in-troduced birds at target native plant sites. We foundthat introduced birds were attracted to social cues andsubsequently consumed native seeds, thus facilitatingrestoration efforts to increase seed dispersal and na-tive plant recruitment. In Wisconsin, Kirtland’s War-blers (Setophaga kirtlandii) are state endangered andare found to consistently breed in only one county lo-cated centrally in the state, despite suitable jack pineforests occurring in northern counties. To expand thebreeding distribution of warblers, we broadcast conspe-cific vocalizations at suitable but unoccupied sites innorthern Wisconsin. We successfully established threenew populations of Kirtland’s Warblers at sites located>200 km from the edge of their geographic range. Al-though these two research studies differ in many ways,they both provide opportunities to use behavior in con-servation. We will discuss the implications of these twostudies and how similar techniques may be applied topressing conservation issues (e.g. climate change) formany different bird species.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNAOC 2020 Abstract Book
StatePublished - 2020


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