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

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

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. July 2016
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 February 2018
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 August 2016
Farwell, L.S., P.B. Wood, R. Dettmers, and M. Brittingham. 2020. Threshold responses of songbirds to forest loss and fragmentation across the Marcellus-Utica shale gas region of central Appalachia, USA. Landscape Ecology 35:1353–1370. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-020-01019-3 April 2020
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 November 2018
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. April 2019
Frantz, M.W., P.B. Wood, S. Latta, and A. Welsh. 2020. Epigenetic response of Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) to shale gas development. Ibis. https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12833 March 2020
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. August 2015
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 August 2016
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. August 2017
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. August 2018
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. May 2019