Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: West Virginia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

West Virginia Project


Longterm Louisiana Waterthrush and Avian Community Response to Shale Gas Development in the Central Appalachian Region

March 2008 - December 2018


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • US Dept of Energy
  • National Aviary
  • WVDNR
  • Appalachian Stewardship Foundation
  • West Virginia University

Shale gas development in the central Appalachian region has increased exponentially in recent years leading to concerns related to fragmentation of the regions forests and to affects on water resources particularly forested headwater streams. This 6-year study evaluated multiple measures of avian population response to a changing landscape from shale gas development activities. Measures included avian community changes, Louisiana waterthrush demographic response, and benthic community changes. Results suggest that headwater systems are affected and that affects scale-up through the food chain ultimately affecting waterthrush demography. Findings help to better define ecosystem level responses across the terrestrial-aquatic interface.

Research Publications Publication Date
Farwell, L.S., P.B. Wood, J. Sheehan, and G.A. George. 2016. Shale gas development effects on the songbird community in a central Appalachian forest. Biological Conservation 201:78-91. 2016-07-31
Frantz, M.W., P.B. Wood, J. Sheehan, and G. George. 2018. Demographic response of Louisiana Waterthrush, a stream obligate songbird of conservation concern, to shale gas development. Condor 120:265-282. DOI: 10.1650/CONDOR-17-130.1 2018-02-28
Wood, P.B., M.W. Frantz, and D.A. Becker. 2016. Louisiana Waterthrush and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Response to Shale Gas Development. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 7(2). Online at http://dx.doi.org/10.3996/092015-JFWM-084 2016-08-31
Frantz, M.W., P.B. Wood, and G.T. Merovich, Jr. Demographic characteristics of an avian predator in response to its aquatic prey in watersheds impacted by shale gas development. PLoSONE 2018-11-30
Frantz, M.W., P.B. Wood, J. Sheehan, and G. George. 2019. Louisiana Waterthrush Survival and Site Fidelity in an Area Undergoing Shale Gas Development. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 131(1):84-95. 2019-04-30
Frantz, M.W., P.B. Wood, S. Latta, and A. Welsh. Epigenetic response of Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) to shale gas development. Ibis https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12833 2020-03-31
Presentations Presentation Date
Farwell, L.S., P.B. Wood, J. Sheehan, and G. George. Avian response to forest disturbance associated with Marcellus shale gas development: a long-term case study of impacts on area-sensitive species. Ecological Society of America, Baltimore, MD. 2015-08-15
Frantz, M. W., P. B. Wood, J. Sheehan, D. Becker, and G. George. Louisiana Waterthrush & Benthic Macroinvertebrate Response to Shale Gas Development. North American Ornithological Conference 2016-08-18
Wood, P., and M. Frantz. Response of Louisiana waterthrush and their benthic prey to shale gas development. Annual Conference of the American Ornithologists Society. Lansing, MI. 1 Jul - 5 Aug 2017. 2017-08-01
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Farwell, L.S. August 2018. Songbird response to forest disturbance due to unconventional shale gas development in the Marcellus-Utica region: a multi-scale analysis. PhD Dissertation, West Virginia University, Morgantown. 2018-08-31
Frantz, M.W. 2019. Demographic, Spatial, and Epigenetic Response of the Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) to shale gas development. PhD Dissertation, West Virginia University, Morgantown. May 2019. 2019-05-31