Validating macroinvertebrate assumptions of the shorebird management model for the lower Mississippi Valley

J. Chad Augustin, Jack W. Grubaugh, Matthew R. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Partners in Flight (PIF), a consortium concerned with migratory bird conservation, has developed an energetics model to predict habitat needs for migratory shorebirds in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV). Predictions are based on assumptions of benthic macroinvertebrate community composition and standing-stock biomass, although little is known about these parameters in LMAV shorebird habitats. To validate several macroinvertebrate assumptions contained in the PIF model, we assessed benthic community composition, abundance, and biomass for 2 shorebird habitats (mudflats in diked impoundments and sewage settling lagoons) in western Tennessee during the fall peak of shorebird migration. Mudflats supported crustaceans, worms (Oligochaeta), water boatmen (Hemiptera: Corixidae), mayflies (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae), and biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae); whereas settling lagoons were dominated by moth flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). Chironomid midges accounted for less than 3% of the biomass in the mudflat community, although they are generally believed to be the principal macroinvertebrate in shorebird habitats. We detected no difference in total benthic abundance between the 2 habitats; however, standing-stock biomass differed significantly (P=0.025) between settling lagoons (5.00 ± 3.33 g/m2) and mudflats (2.17 ± 1.27 g/m2). We incorporated these data into the PIF energetics model, and results were remarkably similar to the original model predictions. Although other parameters of the PIF model still require testing and more information is needed to understand shorebird-macroinvertebrate dynamics, results of this study validate model assumptions concerning resource availability for migratory shorebirds in the LMAV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-558
Number of pages7
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology


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