University of Montana wildlife biology student Miles Scheuring is evaluating wetland trends in Northern and Central Mexico for his senior thesis. This area is important for wintering waterfowl and other waterbirds, particularly from the Pacific and Central Flyways; however, there is little understanding of long-term wetland trends in the region. Using a spectral mixture analysis in Google Earth Engine, Miles is classifying surface water in Landsat imagery from 1984 to present. His work will increase knowledge about wetlands on critical wintering grounds and how they have changed over time. In doing so, Miles helps to clarify the importance of wintering habitat on waterfowl populations and, in turn, aid conservation efforts. His work is expected to be completed in Fall 2020.
University of Montana wildlife biology master’s student Shea Coons is focusing her research on the changes in wetland resources across the Intermountain West over the past 35 years. She is examining the wetlands that have been used historically and presently by white-faced ibis breeding colonies. By measuring wetland patterns and identifying the main drivers behind them, Shea’s work will ultimately help improve the understanding of wetland resilience and deliver conservation solutions that mutually benefit ibis and humans. Her work is expected to be completed in early 2021.