Title

Effects of Aquaculture Decline on Spatial Distributions of Piscivorous Birds

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Wang, Guiming

Committee Member

King, David T.

Committee Member

Allen, Peter J.

Date of Degree

1-1-2018

Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 yers||

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Abstract

The effects of aquaculture decline on piscivorous birds in the Mississippi Delta concern catfish farmers with possible increases in fish loss and disease transmission. My study was aimed to (1) develop a new harassment method using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to effectively control piscivorous birds at fish farms; (2) determine change in spatial distribution of American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) in the Mississippi Delta since aquaculture decline; and (3) determine third-order habitat selection by the pelicans in the wintering grounds. The UAV harassment did not reduce piscivorous bird abundance more than human harassment in a 2-year field experiment. Aerial surveys demonstrate that the pelicans used natural water bodies to find food more frequently in 2015–2017 than in 1997–1999. Average pelican flock size decreased following the aquaculture decline. Lastly, land cover and land use did not predict fine-scale habitat selection by the pelican.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/17700

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