Jena Moon, Ph.D. Student
Stephen F. Austin State University
Dr. David Haukos
Dr. Warren Conway
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Dr. Dan Collins
Chenier Plain of the upper Texas and western Louisiana Gulf Coast
Jena Moon holding a female mottled duck outfitted with a satellite transmitter.
(1) Determine movements of adult female mottled ducks during all major life stages, climatic events, high disturbance periods, and landscape habitat changes.
(2) Document course and fine scale habitat use during all major life stages.
(3) Model survival rates in relation to breeding periods, hunt periods, molting periods, and climatic events.
(4) Determine home range size for adult female mottled ducks.
Progress and Results:
The mottled duck is a species of waterfowl that is increasingly less common along the
Gulf Coast. Population levels of this species are currently below goal numbers established by the Gulf
Coast Joint Venture. As a focal species for Strategic Habitat Conservation, the mottled duck has been
established as an indicator species to coastal marsh health and function. Currently, biologists have a
relatively poor understanding of mottled duck habitat use, regional movements, response to habitat
management, and movements between Refuge lands, State Wildlife Management Areas, and private lands.
Habitat quality/quantity and disturbance maybe important factors dictating mottled duck movements both
spatially and temporally. We have attached 18-gram solar PTT radios (satellite radios) to 15 mottled
duck hens in the summer of 2009, and 30 in 2010, and 45 in 2011. The PTT radios are needed to document
movements, in particular when hens depart Federal property along the Texas Gulf Coast. Other objectives
of the monitoring effort will include documenting coarse and fine scale habitat use (i.e., aerial
classified into habitat coverage's using ERDAS), documenting seasonal movements of mottled ducks, and
examining variability of responses in relation to climatic events, landscape habitat conditions
(i.e., wetland availability assessed by utilizing Landsat data), and disturbance. We will also be
examining potential impacts of climate change, though assessing home range level habitat changes from
current conditions to projected conditions in 2050 and 2100 by the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model
(SLAMM). This information is important to resource managers along the upper Texas Coast and across the
mottled duck range. It is needed to refine and improve habitat management practices (e.g., burning,
grazing, hydrology manipulation, herbicide applications, mechanical treatments, etc.) to allow for
adaptive management across the mottled duck's range.
Moon, J., D.A. Haukos, W. Conway, and P. Walther. 2011. Habitat use and movements of adult mottled ducks on the Texas Chenier Plain. Annual Meeting of The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, San Antonio, Texas.
Moon, J.A., D.A. Haukos, and W. Conway. 2012. Potential climate change impacts to mottled ducks
on the Chenier Plain Region of Texas. Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Fort Worth, Texas.