Tern Down For What: Identifying Suitable Habitats for Gulf Coast Avifauna

Earthzine2015 Spring VPS, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session, Managing Water Resources and Restoration

Category: Managing Water Resources and Restoration

Project Team: Mississippi Water Resources and Ecological Forecasting II

Team Location: NASA John C. Stennis Space Center ‰ÛÒ Hancock County, Mississippi

Shown here is a landcover classification for Gulfport, Mississippi. The landcover classification was derived from 2014 Landsat 8 OLI imagery after implementing a pan-sharpening process. Image Credit: Mississippi Water Resources and Ecological Forecasting II Team


Shelby Barrett

Benjamin Beasley

Aaron Bosarge


Joseph Spruce (NASA Stennis Space Center)

James ‰ÛÏDoc‰Û Smoot (NASA Stennis Space Center)

Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Program)

Past/Other Contributors:

Luke Wylie

Brennan McDaniel


Many migratory and coastal bird species found on the Mississippi Gulf Coast have specialized habitat requirements. The degradation of habitat for nesting and foraging from recent natural disasters and anthropogenic activity has contributed to the population decline of multiple migratory and coastal bird species. The Audubon Mississippi Coastal Bird Stewardship Program (CBSP) is working to improve coastal avifauna populations through habitat monitoring and educating the public on the importance of coastal and migratory birds. In the previous term of this project, Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) imagery from 2014 was used to produce a 15-meter land cover classification for Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties on the Mississippi coast. Nesting habitat suitability maps were also created for several species of concern. This second term focused on refining the land cover classification from the previous term, expanding habitat maps to encompass foraging and overall habitat preferences for each species, and generating water quality indicator maps from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data for the Mississippi coastline. The IDRISI Land Change Modeler for ArcGIS also was used to produce a land cover change detection map. These products allowed CBSP to gain a greater spatial understanding of how birds are using the habitat to enhance their decision-making in relation to habitat and species conservation and restoration planning activities.

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