Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences


Ciborowski, Jan J.H.


Biological sciences, Birds, Island biogeography, Oilsands, Species-area, Trophic islandbiogeography, Wetlands




I examined the patterns of species distribution and richness as they relate to area in boreal wetlands of northeastern Alberta. I conducted point counts of bird species in natural and constructed wetlands of various sizes. Plant species richness, habitat attributes, and habitat heterogeneity were also estimated to determine whether these factors influenced the strength of the avian species-area relationship. The species-area relationship was statistically significant in natural but not in constructed wetlands. Plant richness varied independently of area for both wetland classes. Area and anthropogenic disturbance were significant predictors of avian species richness in natural wetlands, but richness was uncorrelated with all variables in constructed wetlands except for habitat heterogeneity. Although mean avian species richness was similar between natural and constructed wetlands overall, community composition differed markedly and was most likely related to natural wetlands' greater age, larger size and distance from busy roads relative to constructed wetlands.