Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



Diversity exists at all temporal and spatial scales but has been studied largely at the community level because of the limited availability of regional or nation-wide data. In the U.S. both the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and the Breeding Bird Census (BBC) provide large-scale observations of avian populations over periods of decades and offer a potential source of information. A large-scale model of avian diversity based on the BBS has been developed by O'Connor et. al.(1996). The BBC serves as a source for independently obtained species richness estimates used to evaluate the ability of the model to generate corresponding predictions. Overall, the species richness estimates obtained from the BBC data were consistently less than the model predictions. Differences between the BBC and BBS sampling methods offer an explanation for this bias. The BBC data set suffered many limitations; however, when species richness estimates were obtained from the sites representative of the surrounding habitat, the model offered the strongest correlation.