Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Animal Ecology


Marbled godwit (Limosa fedoa) wetland and upland habitat use and selection data from east central North Dakota are presented. Godwits frequently used and preferred short, sparse to moderately vegetated sites and open water or bare soil along wetland shorelines. Prebreeding, breeding, and nonbreeding summer resident godwits used semi-permanent wetlands most often, but preferred (based on use-availability comparisons) ephemeral, alkali, and temporary ponds. Territorial godwits selected areas with greater wetland abundance and more wetland classes than equal-sized, randomly sampled areas. Godwit territories averaged 0.9 km('2) in size. Postbreeding godwits primarily used and preferred feedlots and alkali wetlands. Preferred wetlands were dominated by favored cover types and had minimal proportions of tall, dense cover. Godwits preferred native or introduced grass pastures, and native hayfields and grasslands. They showed less preference for nonnative (planted) hayfield or grassland land-use types and strongly avoided intensively tilled land. At upland sites prebreeding, breeding, and nonbreeding godwits frequently used and seemingly preferred shorter grass (< 15-cm) areas. Postbreeding godwits and broods used and preferred slightly taller vegetation (15-60-cm). Marbled godwits are adapted to exploit open habitats in the northern prairie ecosystem. Historically, these habitats were maintained by fire and the grazing and trampling actions of native ungulates (especially bison, Bison bison). An ecosystem level management approach is recommended for the northern prairie region incorporating the preservation of wetland complexes, including less permanent pond types and alkali wetlands. The use of fire, mowing, and especially grazing on portions of publically managed lands can re-create the shorter grass 'disturbed' habitat components of the pristine northern prairie mosaic to which godwits are adapted.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Mark R. Ryan



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

110 pages