ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


COMPARING FLORIDA SCRUB JAY DEMOGRAPHICS IN DIFFERENT LANDSCAPES  Teresa Drury1 and Geoff Carter 1South Mountain Community College and 2Dynamac Corporation  

   Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) populations are decreasing due to fire suppression and habitat degradation at the Kennedy Space Center.  Two sites, Tel 4 and HC, have been designated for a study on Florida Scrub Jay habitat and population.  During 1963 these sites were subjected to fire suppression, and as a result the landscape changed which decreased Florida Scrub Jay populations.  When it was later realized fire suppression negatively affects the environment prescribed fires was implemented.  Due to the vegetation composition of Tel 4, it burns frequently and quickly. It responded well to prescribed fires, whereas the vegetation composition of site HC does not allow it to burn frequently. The fire suppression allowed density to sharply increase preventing the now prescribed fires from effectively decreasing density. The distinct contrasts in the two sites show a distinct difference in juvenile populations of Florida Scrub Jay. The better quality habitat of Tel 4 supports a larger population of juvenile Florida Scrub Jays, whereas the poor quality habitat supports a smaller population of juvenile Florida Scrub Jays.

 (Supported by NASA’s 2003 Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program)


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