Kent P. McFarland

Kent P. McFarland
Vermont Center for Ecostudies | VCE · Conservation Biology

M.S.

About

136
Publications
36,740
Reads
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2,204
Citations
Introduction
A co-founder of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Kent McFarland is a conservation biologist, photographer, writer and naturalist with over 25 years of experience across the Americas. Kent's writing and images have appeared widely in magazines, newspapers and mobile field guides. He is co-host of Outdoor Radio, a monthly natural history show on Vermont Public Radio.
Additional affiliations
January 2007 - present
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Position
  • Founder and Conservation Biologist
January 1995 - June 2007
Antioch University New England
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Instructor for Introductory Field Ornithology and Wildlife Inventory Techniques for environmental studies graduate students. Designed and delivered lectures. Planned and led field trips. Served as student thesis and independent study advisor.
June 1994 - September 2007
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Position
  • Senior Conservation Biologist
Education
September 1993 - May 1995
Antioch University New England
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology
September 1984 - May 1988
Allegheny College
Field of study
  • Environmental Studies

Publications

Publications (136)
Article
Full-text available
Many fundamental aspects of migration remain a mystery, largely due to our inability to follow small animals over vast spatial areas. For more than 50 years, it has been hypothesized that, during autumn migration, blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) depart northeastern North America and undertake a non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean to eith...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation planning and implementation require identifying pertinent habitats and locations where protection and management may improve viability of targeted species. The winter range of Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a threatened Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbird, is restricted to the Greater Antilles. We analyzed winter records f...
Article
Full-text available
Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) is a rare habitat specialist that breeds in dense balsam fir (Abies balsamea) and red spruce (Picea rubens) forests at high elevations in the northeastern United States. Ongoing and projected loss of this forest type has led to increased demand for information on the species' status throughout the region. We u...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated mercury (Hg) concentrations in a terrestrial food web in high elevation forests in Vermont. Hg concentrations increased from autotrophic organisms to herbivores < detritivores < omnivores < carnivores. Within the carnivores studied, raptors had higher blood Hg concentrations than their songbird prey. The Hg concentration in the bloo...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic input of mercury (Hg) into the environment has elevated risk to fish and wildlife, particularly in northeastern North America. Investigations into the transfer and fate of Hg have focused on inhabitants of freshwater aquatic ecosystems, as these are the habitats at greatest risk for methylmercury (MeHg) biomagnification. Deviating fro...
Article
Full-text available
For many avian species, spatial migration patterns remain largely undescribed, especially across hemispheric extents. Recent advancements in tracking technologies and high‐resolution species distribution models (i.e., eBird Status and Trends products) provide new insights into migratory bird movements and offer a promising opportunity for integrati...
Poster
Full-text available
Abstract Data sharing has become an important issue in modern biodiversity research to address large scale questions and conserve species. Despite the steadily growing scientific and conservation demand, data are not always easily accessed. Worse, it may be lost forever if it is not properly archived. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies launched an...
Article
Full-text available
The global lockdown to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic health risks has altered human interactions with nature. Here, we report immediate impacts of changes in human activities on wildlife and environmental threats during the early lockdown months of 2020, based on 877 qualitative reports and 332 quantitative assessments from 89 different studies. Hundr...
Article
Full-text available
Species distributions, abundance, and interactions have always been influenced by human activity and are currently experiencing rapid change. Biodiversity benchmark surveys traditionally require intense human labor inputs to find, identify, and record organisms limiting the rate and impact of scientific enquiry and discovery. Recent emergence and a...
Technical Report
Checklist of butterflies reported from Vermont, USA. The Vermont Butterfly Checklist is now comprised of 111 species in 5 families (Family:no. species= Hesperiidae 37, Lycaenidae 23, Nymphalidae 38, Papilionidae 6, Pieridae 7). Published at GBIF: https://www.gbif.org/dataset/73eb16f0-4b06-4347-8069-459bc2d96ddb#
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bees are the most important pollinators in both managed and natural ecosystems, and yet concerns about bee declines are growing. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the 20,000 known bee species has adequate data to assess the status of species and susceptibility of populations to decline. The iDigBees Thematic Collections Network (TCN), comprised of...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated mercury (Hg) blood concentrations in Bicknell’s thrush (Catharus bicknelli) and Swainson’s thrush (C. ustulatus), congeneric long-distance migratory songbirds, from 2000−2017 at a montane forest site in north-central Vermont. We analyzed variation in blood Hg of both species using mixed-effects models, incorporating atmospheric wet...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Bumble bees are essential pollinators of crops and wildflowers in agricultural, urban, and natural ecosystems. Bombus pensylvanicus is widespread throughout the eastern and central United States and southern Canada, and in the Desert West and adjacent areas of California and Oregon (Williams et al. 2014). B. pensylvanicus is a grassland species ass...
Article
Full-text available
Currently, the deployment of tracking devices is one of the most frequently used approaches to study movement ecology of birds. Recent miniaturisation of light‐level geolocators enabled studying small bird species whose migratory patterns were widely unknown. However, geolocators may reduce vital rates in tagged birds and may bias obtained movement...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aims Species distributions result from both biotic and abiotic interactions across large spatial scales. The interplay of these interactions as climate changes quickly has been understudied, particularly in herbivorous insects. Here, we investigate the relative impacts these influences on the putative northern range expansion of the giant swallowta...
Article
Full-text available
2019. Apparent survival of a range-restricted montane forest bird species is influenced by weather throughout the annual cycle. Avian Conservation and Ecology 14(2):16. https://doi. ABSTRACT. To conserve small and fragmented populations, we need an understanding of their population dynamics. With a global population estimate of < 120,000, Bicknell'...
Article
The soils and food webs associated with mid to high elevation, forested, headwater streams in northeastern North America are potential hotspots for mercury (Hg) methylation and bioaccumulation, but are not well studied. Our goals were to quantify total Hg (THg) and methyl Hg (MeHg) concentrations in soils and terrestrial food webs associated with h...
Article
Full-text available
Bumble bees (Bombus) play key roles as pollinators in temperate ecosystems. Some North American species have declined due to factors that include habitat loss, parasites, pesticides, and climate change. In many regions conservation is hampered by lack of quantitative data on historical abundance and distribution, making status assessments difficult...
Article
Full-text available
Insect migration is globally ubiquitous and can involve continental-scale movements and complex life histories. Apart from select species of migratory moths and butterflies, little is known about the structure of the annual cycle for migratory insects. Using stable-hydrogen isotope analysis of 852 wing samples from eight countries spanning 140 year...
Article
Full-text available
Despite Hispaniola's high rates of avian endemism and its importance to supporting global biodiversity, relatively little information is available on the basic biology and ecology of its resident birds, particularly the 31 species endemic to the island. Here we describe the nesting ecology and nesting success (n = 643 nests) of species of resident...
Article
The winter range of the Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a globally vulnerable Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbird, is restricted to the Greater Antilles. Most birds occur on Hispaniola, where the species exhibits sexual habitat segregation, and where the loss of its preferred wet broadleaf habitats has been severe. Conservation of femal...
Article
Full-text available
Motivation: The BioTIME database contains raw data on species identities and abundances in ecological assemblages through time. These data enable users to calculate temporal trends in biodiversity within and amongst assemblages using a broad range of metrics. BioTIME is being developed as a community-led open-source database of biodiversity time se...
Article
Full-text available
Motivation: The BioTIME database contains raw data on species identities and abundances in ecological assemblages through time. These data enable users to calculate temporal trends in biodiversity within and amongst assemblages using a broad range of metrics. BioTIME is being developed as a community-led open-source database of biodiversity time se...
Article
Full-text available
Motivation: The BioTIME database contains raw data on species identities and abundances in ecological assemblages through time. These data enable users to calculate temporal trends in biodiversity within and amongst assemblages using a broad range of metrics. BioTIME is being developed as a community led open-source database of biodiversity time se...
Conference Paper
Dragonfly migration has been observed on every continent except Antarctica, with some species performing spectacular long-distance mass movements. Like birds, in eastern North America millions of Common Green Darners migrate to the north in the spring and south in the fall. Where are they coming from and where do they go? In this study, we combine...
Poster
Full-text available
Bombus spp. (bumble bees) play key roles as pollinators in temperate ecosystems. Some North American species have declined due to factors that include habitat loss, parasites, pesticides, and climate change. In many regions, conservation is hampered by lack of quantitative data on historical abundance and distribution, making status assessments dif...
Conference Paper
Methylmercury, the bioavailable form of mercury, is a neurotoxin with well-documented, adverse impacts on natural systems and wildlife populations. Most investigations of methylmercury bioavailability have focused on freshwater aquatic ecosystems; however, recent research has revealed widespread uptake and bioaccumulation in terrestrial biota, incl...
Article
Full-text available
We combined data on morphology, behavior, and gene sequences to document the first known case of hybridization within the thrush genus Catharus. During June 2008 at a montane forest site in south-central Vermont, we observed a male bird that repeatedly exhibited song characteristics of both Bicknell's Thrush (C. bicknelli) and Veery (C. fuscescens)...
Article
Full-text available
Motivation: The BioTIME database contains raw data on species identities and abundances in ecological assemblages through time. These data enable users to calculate temporal trends in biodiversity within and amongst assemblages using a broad range of metrics. BioTIME is being developed as a community-led open-source database of biodiversity time se...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Data collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are critical in generating new discoveries...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: We conducted point counts in the alpine zone of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, USA, to estimate the distribution and density of the rare endemic White Mountain Fritillary (Boloria chariclea montinus). Incidence of occurrence and density of the endemic White Mountain Fritillary during surveys in 2012 and 2013...
Article
Full-text available
Data collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are critical in generating new discoveries...
Poster
A new effort that uses automated cameras and recording devices to track variation in the phenology of a mountain ecosystem and to understand how changes in the timing of key biological events affects the plants and animals.
Conference Paper
From 2002-2007 citizen scientists helped to document the status of Vermont butterflies. Despite their lofty status among the insects, there was no atlas of their distribution and no conservation assessment for butterflies. Obtaining complete survey coverage of this rural and mountainous state was challenging. Participation generally followed Pareto...
Poster
Full-text available
Combining data on morphology, behavior, and gene sequences, we document the first known case of hybridization within the thrush genus Catharus. During June of 2008, we observed a male bird at a montane forest site in south-central Vermont that repeatedly exhibited song characteristics of both Bicknell’s Thrush (C. bicknelli) and Veery (C. fuscescen...
Conference Paper
http://anr.vermont.gov/sites/anr/files/specialtopics/mark_kent_leif_ANR_presentation_compressed.pdf
Article
Full-text available
We analyzed temporal trends in mist-net capture rates of resident (n = 8) and overwintering Nearctic-Neotropical migrant (n = 3) bird species at two sites in montane broadleaf forest of the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic, with the goal of providing quantitative information on population trends that could inform conservation assessments. We...
Conference Paper
The soils and foods webs associated with mid to high elevation, forested, headwater streams are potential hotspots for mercury methylation and bioaccumulation but are not well studied. We tested the hypothesis that spatial variation in mercury bioaccumulation in upland taxa associated with headwater streams can be explained by variation in soil con...
Research
Full-text available
Species status report to the Vermont Endangered Species Committee recommending listing Bombus ashtoni as Endangered in Vermont.
Research
Full-text available
Species status report to the Vermont Endangered Species Committee recommending listing Bombus terricola as Threatened in Vermont.
Research
Full-text available
Species status report to the Vermont Endangered Species Committee recommending listing Bombus affinis as Endangered in Vermont.
Preprint
Full-text available
We analyzed temporal trends in mist-net capture rates of resident (n = 8) and overwintering Nearctic-Neotropical migrant (n = 3) bird species at two sites in montane broadleaf forest of the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic, with the goal of providing quantitative information on population trends that could inform conservation assessments. We...
Preprint
Full-text available
We analyzed temporal trends in mist-net capture rates of resident (n = 8) and overwintering Nearctic-Neotropical migrant (n = 3) bird species at two sites in montane broadleaf forest of the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic, with the goal of providing quantitative information on population trends that could inform conservation assessments. We...
Technical Report
Congress created the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program (SWG) in 2001. To receive SWG funds, each state and territory is required to develop a Wildlife Action Plan. The goal of both the State Wildlife Grants program and the Action Plan is to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered through early, strategic efforts to conserve wildlife and ha...
Article
High-elevation ecosystems of the northeastern United States are vulnerable to deposition and environmental accumulation of atmospheric pollutants, yet little work has been done to assess mercury (Hg) concentrations in organisms occupying montane ecosystems. The authors present data on Hg concentrations in ground-foraging insectivorous songbirds, a...
Article
Full-text available
Research in alpine areas of northeastern North America has been poorly coordinated, with minimal communication among researchers, and it has rarely been multidisciplinary. A workshop was organized to review the state of alpine research in northeastern North America, to facilitate cooperation, and to encourage discussion about research priorities fo...