ASSESSMENT OF SCALED QUAIL POPULATION DYNAMICS IN TEXAS


Raquel Leyva - Texas Tecb University Nick C Parker U.S. Geological Survey, Texas Cooperatlve Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Markus Peterson - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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100-year average precipitation for Texas

Scaled quail(Callipepla squamata) population have declined in most areas of Texas in the pase decades. Changes in habitat characteristics may have caused changes in population dynamics of the species throughout its historical range. Research is currently underway to test the hypothesis that long-term habitat changes are not correlated with scaled quail population declines in Texas.

Remotely sensed data and other databases are being used to describe changes in the biotic and a biotic habitat composition in areas of scaled quail distribution in Texas. A Geographical Information System (GIS) is being used to assemble all the databases for habitat description. Databases include soil description, scaled quail population surveys, historical climate data, and vegetation description.

Arc/lnfo was used to create a referenced frame using counties as the sampling unit for this study. This frame will be used to overlay the coverages produced with each database. A soil map for the state of Texas has been created as one of the several data layers that will integrate into a spatial model. This model will aid in the description of changes in seated quail populations in Texas. A second coverage is being created using historical climate data from the late 1800s This coverage will be created using Geostatistics (i.e., Kriging) and incorporated in the spatial model. A total of 3860 point locations for the state of Texas have been used to create a climatic map for the entire state. These locations represent areas where climate stations are located.

Population surveys derived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Breeding Bird Survey for scaled quail will be incorporated into the GIS and will be spatially correlated with roads from which these surveys were conducted.

Completion of this project is expected to provide a tool for the management of scaled quail populations in Texas. Remote sensing techniques employed in the project may prove to be important tools in the management of not only scaled quail but also other wildlife populations in the future.

Funding for this research was provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.