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A northern saw-whet owl Aegolius acadicus in the Pacific
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A northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) in the Pacific Northwest Forest

June 8, 2010
A northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) in the Pacific Northwest Forest, part of a research study in the Pacific Northwest Forest by John Marzluff, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington. The study, which took place from June 2002 to June 2005, was partially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Biocomplexity (01-20024) and IGERT (01-114351) programs.

More About this Image Building new roads and housing impacts ecosystem structures and functions through the conversion of land, fragmentation of natural habitat, disruption of hydrologic systems and modification of energy flow and nutrient cycles. Researchers who study urban development have very different emphases, scale, methodology and objectives from ecological scientists, thus simulation models for the two areas have evolved in separate knowledge domains. By building on model traditions in urban economics, landscape ecology, wildlife population dynamics and complex system science, each of which offers different perspectives on modeling urban ecological interactions, scientists at the University of Washington have developed a framework to simulate dynamics interactions between urban development and ecological processes. The result is a new and deeper understanding of urban growth and its impacts on bird habitat than previously possible using simulation from a single research field. Such assessments of ecological impacts of urban growth that are timely, accurate and transparent are crucial to making sound policy and management decisions. Figures courtesy of Marina Alberti, Paul Waddell, John M. Marzluff and Mark S. Handcock, University of Washington.