delware environmental institute

Rising sea levels threaten birds in salt marshes

Rising sea levels threaten birds in salt marshes

Greg Shriver, assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, has received a $300,000 collaborative grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct research on salt marsh birds from Maine to Virginia as part of the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Project (SHARP).

The project’s short-term goal is to provide the information necessary for all states in the bird conservation region stretching from New England through the Mid-Atlantic coast to protect regionally important habitats for tidal marsh birds. Of particular interest is the salt marsh sparrow, which is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and has a limited breeding range from Virginia to Maine.

Because the sparrow spends its entire life in salt marsh habitats, Shriver says, “The species is extremely vulnerable to extinction over the next 50-100 years, given even modest estimates of sea-level rise during the same time period.” (full article)