Atlantic and Great Lakes Sea Duck Migration Study
This large-scale, multi-year, collaborative program for tracking sea ducks along the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes was conducted from 2009 to 2018. More than 650 satellite transmitters were deployed among four species of conservation concern (Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, and Long-tailed Duck) by over 20 partner organizations. Objectives of the study included:
- Fully describing the annual migration patterns for four species of sea ducks (surf scoter, black scoter, white-winged scoter, long-tailed duck) in the Atlantic flyway and Great Lakes.
- Mapping local movements and estimate length-of-stay during winter in areas proposed for placement of wind turbines.
- Identifying near-shore and offshore habitats of high significance to sea ducks to help inform habitat conservation efforts.
- Estimating rates of annual site fidelity to wintering areas, breeding areas, and molting areas for all four focal species in the Atlantic flyway.
The resulting data set has been used for environmental assessments and marine spatial planning in both the US and Canada Atlantic coasts. To request access to the tracking data set, please contact the Sea Duck Joint Venture US Coordinator at .
Reports and Publications
Migration Maps – Summary Maps, all Years
Publications and Graduate Theses Resulting from the AGLSDMS
Bowman, T. D., J. L. Churchill, C. Lepage, S. S. Badzinski, S. G. Gilliland, N. McLellan, and E. Silverman. 2022. Atlas of sea duck key habitat sites in North America. Sea Duck Joint Venture March 2022.
Bowman, T.D., Gilliland, S.G., Schamber, J.L., Flint, P.L., Esler, D., Boyd, W.S., Rosenberg, D.H., Savard, J.-P., Perry, M.C. & Osenkowski, J.E. 2021. Strong evidence for two disjunct populations of Black Scoters Melanitta americana in North America. Wildfowl 71: 179-192.
Fara, L.J., S. Ford, B.R. Lubinski, S.C. Houdek, and M.W. Eichholz. 2019. Long nights, airplanes, and avian surgery: A tale of working with volunteers to study long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) wintering on Lake Michigan. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 33(1):82-88.
Fara, L.J. 2018. Migration patterns, habitat use, prey items, and hunter harvest of long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) that overwinter on Lake Michigan. MS Thesis, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.
Lamb, J.S., S.G. Gilliland, J-P.L. Savard, P.H. Loring, S.R. McWilliams, G.H. Olsen, J.E. Osenkowski, P.W.C. Paton, M.C. Perry, and T.D. Bowman. 2021. Annual-cycle movements and phenology of black scoters in eastern North America. The Journal of Wildlife Management 85(8):1628-1645.
Lamb, J.S., P.W.C. Paton, J.E. Osenkowski, S.S. Badzinski, A.M. Berlin, T. Bowman, C. Dwyer, L.J. Fara, S.G. Gilliland, K. Kenow, C. Lepage, M.L. Mallory, G.H. Olsen, M.C. Perry, S.A. Petrie, J-P.L. Savard, L. Savoy, M. Schummer, C.S. Spiegel, and S.R. McWilliams. 2020. Implanted satellite transmitters affect sea duck movement patterns at short and long timescales. The Condor: Ornithological Applications 122:1-16.
Lamb, J.S., P.W.C. Paton, J.E. Osenkowski, S.S. Badzinski, A.M. Berlin, T. Bowman, C. Dwyer, L.J. Fara, S.G. Gilliland, K. Kenow, C. Lepage, M.L. Mallory, G.H. Olsen, M.C. Perry, S.A. Petrie, J-P.L. Savard, L. Savoy, M. Schummer, C.S. Spiegel, and S.R. McWilliams. 2020. Assessing year-round habitat use by migratory sea ducks in a multi-species context reveals seasonal variation in habitat selection and partitioning. Ecography 43:1-18.
Lamb, J.S., P.W.C. Paton, J.E. Osenkowski, S.S. Badzinski, A.M. Berlin, T. Bowman, C. Dwyer, L.J. Fara, S.G. Gilliland, K. Kenow, C. Lepage, M.L. Mallory, G.H. Olsen, M.C. Perry, S.A. Petrie, J-P.L. Savard, L. Savoy, M. Schummer, C.S. Spiegel, and S.R. McWilliams. 2019. Spatially explicit network analysis reveals multi-species annual cycle movement patterns of sea ducks. Ecological Applications 0(0):e01919.
Le Net, R., D. M. Mulcahy, A. Santamaria-Bouvier, S. G. Gilliland, T. D. Bowman, C. Lepage, and S. Lair. 2019. Intranasal administration of midazolam hydrochloride improves survival in female surf scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) surgically implanted with intracoelomic transmitters. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 50:167 – 175.
Lepage, C., J-P.L. Savard, and S.G. Gilliland. 2020. Spatial ecology of white-winged scoters (Melanitta deglandi) in eastern North America: A multi-year perspective. Waterbirds 43(2):147-162.
Loring, P.H., P.W.C. Paton, J.E. Osenkowski, S.G. Gilliland, J-P.L. Savard, and S.R. McWilliams. 2014. Habitat use and selection of black scoters in southern New England and siting of offshore wind energy facilities. The Journal of Wildlife Management 78(4):645-656.
Loring, P.H. 2012. Phenology and habitat use of scoters along the southern New England Continental Shelf. MS Thesis, University of Rhode Island.
Meattey, D.E., S.R. McWilliams, P.W.C. Paton, C. Lepage, S.G. Gilliland, L. Savoy, G.H. Olsen, and J.E.
Osenkowski. 2019. Resource selection and wintering phenology of white-winged scoters in southern New England: Implications for offshore wind energy development. The Condor: Ornithological Applications 121:1-18.
Meattey, D.E., S.R. McWilliams, P.W.C. Paton, C. Lepage, S.G. Gilliland, L. Savoy, G.H. Olsen, and J.E. Osenkowski. 2018. Annual cycle of white-winged scoters (Melanitta fusca) in eastern North America: Migratory phenology, population delineation, and connectivity. Canadian Journal of Zoology 96:1353-1365.
Meattey, D.E. 2018. Annual cycle phenology and winter habitat use of White-winged Scoters in eastern North America. MS Thesis, University of Rhode Island.
Plumpton, H.M., S.G. Gilliland, and B.E. Ross. 2020. Movement ecology and habitat use differences in black scoters wintering along the Atlantic coast. Avian Conservation & Ecology 15(2):6.
Roberts, A., E. Silverman, and S. Gifford. 2018. Sample size considerations for satellite telemetry and animal distributions. Journal of Wildlife Management 82:1536–1544.
Sonsthagen, S. A., R. E. Wilson, P. Lavretsky, and S. L. Talbot. 2019. Coast to coast: High genomic connectivity in North American scoters. Ecology and Evolution 9:7246–7261.