Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Mechanistic Study of songbird energy development


May 2008 - June 2014


Several sagebrush steppe-obligate songbirds are declining range-wide (according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey) and are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Wyoming Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS), including the Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli) and sage thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus). Population declines have primarily been attributed to habitat alteration and loss on breeding grounds.

One land use that has become particularly prevalent in Wyoming is the development of sagebrush steppe for energy extraction including oil and natural gas. The use and alteration of sagebrush habitats for energy development and extraction has largely unknown consequences for wildlife populations, though such disturbances have the potential to disrupt nesting, alter habitat selection, increase physiological stress, and reduce survival and reproduction. Research examining the potential impacts of different types and stages of energy development in Wyoming on sagebrush songbird breeding communities is therefore critically needed.

Research Products and Activities

Technical Publications

  • 2012 Annual Report - Mechanistic Study of Songbird Energy Development Impacts Abstract |

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4235



Funding Agencies

  • U. S. Geological Survey
  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey