An introduction to habitat use and selection by waterfowl in the northern hemisphere

Rick M. Kaminski, Johan Elmberg


This introductory article aims to provide a theoretical framework to the topics of
habitat use and selection by waterfowl (i.e. family Anatidae) in the northern
hemisphere during the four stages of their annual cycle: autumn migration and
winter, spring migration and pre-breeding, nesting and brood rearing, and postbreeding and moulting. Papers addressing each of these seasonal sectors of the annual cycle, which follow this introduction, were presented at the 6th North
American Duck Symposium, “Ecology and Conservation of North American
Waterfowl” in Memphis, Tennessee in January 2013. Here, we consider the theory and selected empirical evidence relevant to waterfowl habitat and resource use and selection that may affect individual survival and fitness of waterfowl in Nearctic and Palearctic ecozones. Additionally, where possible, a comparative taxonomic approach is attempted in the following papers to identify and generalise patterns in habitat and resource use and selection across waterfowl taxa that may influence biological outcomes for individuals, populations and species through space and time. Each of the subsequent papers use accumulated science-based information to recommend future opportunities and strategies for research and for habitat and population conservation. Collectively, our goals in synthesising information on waterfowl are to help sustain harvestable populations of waterfowl and to protect rare species amid worldwide changes in climate, landscape, economics, socio-politics and growth of human populations.

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