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Using agent-based models to identify conservation solutions to large scale environmental variation and climate change

Project Leader:
Project Fellows:
Project Investigators:
Dylan Kesler (Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri)
Elisabeth Webb (USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit)
North Dakota
South Dakota
+5 more


Effective migratory bird management and conservation requires an integrate approach at multiple spatial and temporal scales.  We developed a spatially explicit agent-based model for dabbling ducks during spring migration. We are modeling foraging and resting behavior at prominent spring migration stopover sites throughout the midcontinent region.  Emergent properties of the working model include spring migration stopover duration, movement distances and survival.  We used the model to evaluate alternative land-use change and management scenarios to evaluate the effects of environmental variation on dabbling duck spring migration stopover duration and survival.

The agent-based model has been developed and is has been evaluated and validated using emergent properties, including stopover duration, survival and movement distances.  We have performed 7 different analyses encompassing approximately 3,000 individual simulations.  The final 2 analyses that include approximately 1000 simulations are completed

The project addressed migration chronology, habitat use, anthropogenic influences and other limiting factors on waterfowl populations during the non-breeding period.


Beatty, W.S., E.B. Webb, D.C. Kesler, A.H. Raedeke, L.W. Naylor, D.D. Humburg, G.J. Soulliere and J. Coluccy. Effects of landscape energetics on mallard and American black duck movements. The Wildlife Society Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA. October 2014.
Effects of landscape energetics on mallard and American black duck movement, The Wildlife Society, Oct 25 - 30, 2014.