Ph.D. Student, Arizona State University
Location: Hobsgol and Bulgan Aimags, Mongolia
Research: The Great Bustard in Central Asia: From Conservation Biology to Land-Use Planning
Species/Topic: Great Bustard (Otis tarda)
Abstract: The Great Bustard (Otis tarda) is considered globally vulnerable by IUCN and is endangered in Asia. This project expands scientific knowledge of poorly understood Central Asian populations with an emphasis on gathering information with immediate, concrete conservation implications. Satellite telemetry is used for longitudinal observations and to ascertain critical habitat. Data concerning the dates of nesting will be used in recommendations on the use of agricultural machinery in farmed lands, a major cause of pre- and post-hatching mortality for this ground nesting species. Genetic analyses will describe population structure and identify threatened subpopulations. Our preliminary results are already being used by NGOs in Central Asia for steppe conservation projects, considering the Great Bustard as a flagship or indicator species. Environmental education programs for children in Northern Mongolia, one of the bustard's Asian breeding strongholds, are part of this work.