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Black Terns in Trouble

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Terns in Trouble: How Lake Level Rise and Storms Impact Black Tern Nesting Survival

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Black Terns are a small, graceful migratory shorebird and summer breeding resident to large wetlands throughout the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, they are now listed as Special Concern or Endangered in the Great Lakes States, having faced a 90% drop in population since 1991. To better understand this decline, Detroit Audubon has been monitoring one of Michigan's largest colonies at Lake St. Clair Flats since 2013. Over the course of the past 8 years, this colony has experienced extreme lake level lows to record highs, numerous storm events, and roughly a 60-70% drop in population. Jenni's research combines remote sensing, historical weather, and Audubon's long term nesting data to understand how environmental change impacts their success, why they are disappearing, and what can be done to turn the tide.

Jenni Fuller is currently pursuing her MS in Conservation Ecology at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, with her research supported by the Michigan Sea Grant. She is interested in understanding how changing climate and landscapes impact avian conservation. She is honored to have had the opportunity to intern and work with Audubon over the past two summers conducting fieldwork and helping research Michigan's Black Terns. Prior to her endeavors at SEAS, she graduated from Hope College as a dual biology and geology major, and spent time working in Michigan coastal dunes, midwestern forests, and the Florida scrub.

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