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Tuesday, May 8 • 8:00am - 5:00pm
POSTER: Using GIS to Characterize and Compare Preferred Habitat for Riverine Dragonflies

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AUTHORS: Rebecca Budd*, Westfield State University; Peter Hazelton, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; Carsten Braun, Westfield State University

ABSTRACT: Dragonfly larvae spend 3-5 years in an aquatic environment before emerging as adult dragonflies. They inhabit a wide variety of wetlands including lakes, marshes and rivers and are considered to be an indicator of freshwater ecosystem health. Conservation scientists monitor rare and common dragonflies to assess population trends, identify vulnerable habitats, and determine conservation priorities. Species with specific habitat requirements are more sensitive to habitat degradation and changes in climate and land use. As a conservation tool, GIS can be used to efficiently analyze habitat characteristics at locations where each species has been observed. Our analysis combines existing riverine dragonfly survey data from the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program with the Nature Conservancy's Northeast Aquatic Habitat Classification Dataset using ArcGIS. Habitat characteristics including river size, gradient, buffering capacity and temperature were summarized and compared for selected species. We used habitat preference data to identify and select rivers of potential occurrences for two related species; Boyeria grafiana and Boyeria vinosa. Boyeria grafiana is less common in Massachusetts and only occurs west of the Connecticut River while Boyeria vinosa is common and occurs throughout the state. This analysis found that B. grafiana prefers moderately buffered, moderate gradient, cool and cold water creeks and small rivers while B. vinosa inhabits a wide range of available riverine habitat. We also found that there is a greater amount of continuous preferred habitat for B. grafiana available west of the Connecticut River. Our analysis has identified river segments with suitable habitat for B. grafiana that have not yet been surveyed, which may be targeted for future survey efforts.

Tuesday May 8, 2018 8:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Laurel/McHugh Hall First Floor