Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
Home | Intranet | Digital Measures | Help

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


March 2008 - December 2018


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 study is evaluating multiple measures of avian population response to a changing landscape from shale gas development activities. Measures include avian community changes, Louisiana waterthrush demographic response, and benthic community changes. Results will help to better define ecosystem level responses across the terrestrial-aquatic interface.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



Funding Agencies

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


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey