Jena Moon

Phone: 409-971-2909                                     Email:

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” Aldo Leopold- A Sand County Almanac 

Jena Moon with Mottled Ducks

“Though the Texas Gulf Coast is littered with the “wounds” Aldo Leopold so boldly spoke about over 60 years ago, I view the I&M network as an avenue to use science to address such ecological damages and start to heal landscapes through such efforts.”

Refuges: Aransas NWR, Big Boggy NWR, Brazoria NWR, San Bernard NWR, Anahuac NWR, Moody NWR, McFaddin NWR, Texas Point NWR, Sabine NWR, Cameron Prairie NWR, Lacassine NWR, Shell Keys NWR

Landscape Conservation Cooperative: Gulf Coast Prairie LCC

Featured Projects:
Marsh Elevation Monitoring on Texas Coastal National Wildlife Refuges: 
The Texas Gulf Coast, although characterized by overall quality coastal wetlands, has sustained major natural and anthropogenic changes that have led to declines in habitat structure and function within the Region. Anthropogenic alterations include hydrology; fire regime; ground water contamination; goose, rodent and ruminant grazing regime; oil spills; establishment of non-native and invasive vegetation, and oil and gas exploration. Natural alterations to the Region also includes sea level rise; increasing strength and frequency of tropical depressions; sea level rise, and subsidence. Due to the cumulative effects of the natural and anthropogenic changes we have initiated a monitoring project utilizing Surface Elevation Tables (SET) aimed at identifying subsidence and accretion rates among several National Wildlife Refuges including: Aransas NWR, San Bernard NWR, Big Boggy NWR, Brazoria NWR, Anahuac NWR and McFaddin NWR. The goals of the project are to 1) Establish local vertical control networks including SET benchmarks and permanent vegetation monitoring plots, 2) Monitor sea-level rise impacts to NWRs, 3) Obtain long-term monitoring variables to improve Regional climate models.

Mottled Duck Monitoring Project:The mottled duck is a species of waterfowl that is increasingly less common along the Gulf Coast. Population levels of this species are currently below goal numbers established by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture. As a focal species for Strategic Habitat Conservation, the mottled duck has been established as an indicator species to coastal marsh health and function. Currently, biologists have a relatively poor understanding of mottled duck habitat use, regional movements, response to habitat management, and movements. Habitat quality/quantity and disturbance likely are important factors dictating mottled duck movements both spatially and temporally. We have attached 18-gram solar PTT radios (satellite radios) to 15 mottled duck hens in the summer of 2009, and 30 in 2010, and 45 in 2011. These radios had a life expectancy of 2-5 years, far beyond that of conventional VHF radio transmitters. The PTT radios are needed to document movements, in particular when hens depart Federal property along the Texas Gulf Coast. Other objectives of the monitoring effort will include documenting coarse and fine scale habitat use, documenting seasonal movements of mottled ducks, and examining variability of responses in relation to climatic events, landscape habitat conditions, and disturbance. We are also examining potential impacts of climate change, though assessing home range level habitat changes from current conditions to projected conditions in 2050 and 2100 by the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM).

Ph.D.- Stephen F. Austin State University (in progress)
M.S.- Texas Tech University
B.S.- Texas Tech University

Scientific Interests: Wetlands and Coastal Systems, Waterfowl and Shorebird Ecology and Management, Ornithology, Natural History, Climate Change, and Contaminants

Other Interests: I enjoy spending quality time with my family, waterfowl hunting, big game hunting, fishing, trail running, and cooking.

Relevant Publications:

  • Moon, J.A., and D.A. Haukos. 2004. Pintails in the Playas. Birdscapes.
  • Moon, J.A. 2004. Survival, Movements, and Habitat Use of female northern pintails wintering in the Playa Lakes Region. Thesis, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. 204 pp.
  • Moon, J.A., and D.A. Haukos. 2006. Survival of Female Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region of Texas. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:777-783.
  • Haukos, D.A., M.R. Miller, D.L. Orthmeyer, J.Y. Takekawa, J.P. Fleskes, M.L. Casazza, W.M. Perry, and J.A. Moon. 2006. Spring Migration of Northern Pintails from Texas and New Mexico, USA. Waterbirds 29:127-136.
  • Moon, J.A., D.A. Haukos, and L.M. Smith. 2006. Declining Body Condition of Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region. Journal of Wildlife Management. 71(1): 218-221.
  • Moon, J.A., and D.A. Haukos. 2008. Habitat Use of Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region. Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Wildlife Agencies 62: 82-87.
  • Moon, J.A., and D.A Haukos. 2009. Factors Affecting Body Condition of Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region of Texas. Waterbirds: 32(1) 87-95.
  • Moon, J.A., and D.A. Haukos. 2011. Movements of Female Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region. Waterbirds. In review.
  • Walther, P.A., J.A. Moon, M. Merchant, P. Sanders, M.Hamilton, M.Whitbeck. Pb Ingestion by Mottled Ducks (Anas fulvigula). Journal of Wildlife Management. In review.

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