Researchers at Virginia Tech University are joining forces with scientists in China to study waterfowl around Poyang Lake, the country’s largest freshwater lake. Poyang supports hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl each year.
Collaborators from Nanchang University and the International Crane Foundation are also helping in the study, looking largely at the lake’s ecology. They are studying the lake’s fisheries and mussels.
In the project’s beginnings, members of the Virginia Tech Shorebird Program have begun surveying for bird hiding spots:
“The shore is muddy and difficult to walk on. It is not going to be simple to estimate the number of birds using the lake,” said Jim Fraser, professor of wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech. “There are parts of the lake that are difficult to get to.”
To narrow down where the birds frequent, Fraser will look to implement the use of remote sensors, especially during migration seasons and winter. Researchers would like to implement a breeding survey after that.
Poyang Lake is difficult to study because of jurisdictional issues that surround it. This is further complicated by large and small dikes that control the water in some areas. The lake is also subjected to varying human uses.