Sea Duck Ecology - Investigating the wintering ecology of surf scoters and long-tailed ducks

Virginia Institute of Marine Science - College of William & Mary
Eastern Shore Lab
Publication Date: 

North American populations of breeding surf scoters and long-tailed ducks appear to be decreasing. Along the Atlantic coast, wintering populations of surf scoters are suspected to be decreasing, while the status of wintering populations of long-tailed ducks remains unknown. These trends have led conservation organizations to assign a "high" relative conservation priority to both species.

In this study we documented the wintering ecology for both surf scoters and long-tailed ducks in these adjacent regions during the winter of 2008-2009. Specific objectives were to the distribution, fine-scale habitat characteristics, and diet of surf scoters and long-tailed ducks in two discrete mid-Atlantic environs;
2.qualitatively compare these results to previous studies in the fresher mesohaline portion of Chesapeake Bay; and
3.investigate the proximity of winter foraging habitat to oyster reefs, seagrass beds, and emergent shorelines for both species.