castor pond image 1castor pond image 2simmons park image 1simmons park image 2health image 1health image 2health image 3health image 4patel image 1alz image 1alz image 2birch dr O t h e r
The Muscovy duck (pictured above) is a species of waterfowl native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and southern Texas . Also known as the Barbary duck, the species is commonly domesticated and raised for meat across the globe. Muscovy ducks have a high reproductive potential, and escaped or intentionally introduced populations have become established in many areas. This is particularly the case in the United States, where the Muscovy duck is legally recognized as an invasive species due to threats it poses to other species and the environment. Some of these potential concerns include: interbreeding with wild waterfowl, competition for resources with native wildlife, degradation of water quality, and transmission of various diseases to native birds and domestic poultry. Accordingly, the species is exempt from protection by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States (16 U.S.C.703 et seq.) outside its native breeding range in Texas, which allows it to be captured or harvested without a federal permit.
Muscovy ducks are common in the Tampa Bay region and are abundant on USF campus. In the assignment, students complete a three-step research project that results in an original contribution that makes recommendations for Muscovy duck management on USF campus (Student Learning Outcomes 6,7, and 9).
- Step One: Collect, summarize, and interpret point count data for Muscovy ducks at 7 USF wetlands.
- Step Two: Conduct habitat assessments of 7 USF wetlands and relate the habitat data to the abundance data summarized in Step One.
- Step Three: Use the findings from Step Two, along with additional readings, to develop creative management recommendations for Muscovy ducks on USF campus.
For additional reading about Muscovy ducks, students are recommended to consult the articles/links posted on Canvas, including:
Downs, Joni, et al. “Habitat Use and Behaviours of Introduced Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata) in Urban and Suburban Environments.” Suburban Sustainability 5.1 (2017): 1. Download Downs, Joni, et al. “Habitat Use and Behaviours of Introduced Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata) in Urban and Suburban Environments.” Suburban Sustainability 5.1 (2017): 1.
https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/birds/waterfowl/muscovy-duck/ (Links to an external site.)
USFWS, 2010. Migratory Bird Permits; Control of Muscovy Ducks, Revisions to the Waterfowl Permit Exceptions and Waterfowl Sale. Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 39 / Monday, March 1, 2010 / Rules and Regulations Download USFWS, 2010. Migratory Bird Permits; Control of Muscovy Ducks, Revisions to the Waterfowl Permit Exceptions and Waterfowl Sale. Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 39 / Monday, March 1, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
Step One of the RCT assignment consists of three parts: Data Collection, Summarizing the Data, and Data Interpretation.
Part A: Data Collection
In part A of the first step, students will conduct point count surveys for Muscovy ducks at seven wetlands on USF campus. The point counts will be conducted in a digital environment using pre-collected 360 degree photospheres of each site. Students, either in groups or individually, will complete point counts at the different wetlands. Point count data for 10 visits to each wetland will be analyzed later in this assignment. However, some data is already provided; groups must fill in the missing data using the imagery provided. For example, students will conduct point counts for visits 1 and 2 for Castor Pond, as data for visits 3 through 10 is already provided. To reduce confusion, imagery is only provided for the missing counts.
- For this part of the assignment, students can choose to work independently or in a small group of up to 4 people at their discretion.
- Each individual or group must compile point count data for each image provided. Groups will determine how to manage the workload, but everyone must participate equally. Groups can decide whether everyone should examine every image or only the ones with many ducks. Advice for working in groups can be found here. Looking to connect with other students to form a group? Connect via the peer to peer discussion board.
- Students will complete the point counts using the 360 degree photospheres provided, using methods already explored in lab:
Images not loading in Canvas? You can also access them at https://kuula.co/profile/danielusf (Links to an external site.).
- After collecting the data, each individual or group will report their data as shown below, filling in the missing values.
Download a template of the Data Collection Spreadsheet here Download Download a template of the Data Collection Spreadsheet here.
Note, you will have to copy over the data below. You will turn in a copy of your data with Parts B and C, below.
|Wetland||Visit 1||Visit 2||Visit 3||Visit 4||Visit 5||Visit 6||Visit 7||Visit 8||Visit 9||Visit 10|
|1 Castor pond||16||11||19||11||13||23||18||33|
|2 Simmons Park||17||22||41||24||15||32||28||21|
|6 Birch Dr A||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||2|
|7 Birch Dr B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Part B: Data Summarization
In part A above, you collected point count data for Muscovy ducks. Now, in part B , students, individually or in small groups, will summarize the resulting point counts using descriptive statistics.
- After compiling the point count data for all sites and visits, students will compute some basic summary statistics in order to summarize Muscovy duck abundance at each site.
- Students will calculate the following measures for each wetland, as described in lecture, and add them to the spreadsheet as shown below.
- Minimum count (the lowest count observed at a wetland across all site visits)
- Maximum count (the highest count observed at a wetland across all site visits)
- Mean count (the average count observed at a wetland across all site visits)
- % Occupancy (the percentage of visits that at least one Muscovy duck was observed at a wetland)
Please use this assignment to submit the Point Count Data Spreadsheet with the summary statistics computed. The statistics will be submitted with Part C.
Download a template of the Point Count Data Spreadsheet here Download Download a template of the Point Count Data Spreadsheet here.
|Wetland||Visit 1||Visit 2||Visit 3||Visit 4||Visit 5||Visit 6||Visit 7||Visit 8||Visit 9||Visit 10||Min||Max||Mean||%Occ|
|1 Castor pond|
|2 Simmons Park|
|6 Birch Dr A|
|7 Birch Dr B|
Supplementary Reading on Point Counts
Paper that describes some of the relative merits of different point count measures Download Paper that describes some of the relative merits of different point count measures
Point count guide Download Point count guide
Part C: Data Interpretation
In Part A, you collected point count data for the purposes of estimating Muscovy duck abundance. In part B, you summarized the data using four descriptive summary statistics. Now in Part C , you will interpret the results by answering the following questions:
- Describe, in text, patterns of Muscovy duck abundance at each pond.
- Which of the four summary measures you computed in Part B do you think best represents Muscovy duck abundance at each wetland? Why?
- What factors do you think are responsible for differences in Muscovy duck abundance across the different wetlands?
- Do you think these 10 visits are sufficient to estimate the true abundance of Muscovy ducks at each wetland? Why? For future studies of Muscovy ducks on campus, what kind of sampling protocol might you recommend (e.g. how often, time of day)?
Note: In Step Two of this assignment, you will relate these measures of abundance to habitat data. You, will then use those findings to make recommendations for Muscovy duck management on campus.
Please use this assignment to submit the answers to Parts A, B, and C above question via a Word document. Submit a table with counts and statistics, as well as answers to the questions, in a single file.
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