Visualizing Science: Sharp-tailed grouse survival

Post by Jonathan Lautenbach
This image is an early draft representing my research trying to understand how landscape features might influence the survival of sharp-tailed grouse in south-central Wyoming.
I tried to do this by drawing pictures of the different sharp-tailed grouse life stages and connecting them with arrows to represent how the they are linked and to help with flow. Question marks were added on top of the arrows to show if an individual/nest survives onto the next stage. To ask the question of how landscape features influence survival, I added different landscape features that might influence survival around the outside of the life-cycle diagram; these features include different scales and vegetation and anthropogenic features.To help me create this image I used several photos that I took in the field while conducting this research or on previous research projects as reference images. These images include a nest, grouse chick, juvenile sharp-tailed grouse, and adult male sharp-tailed grouse. I used the images to help draw the different life stages so that I could accurately represent each life stage.

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Adult male sharp-tailed grouse perched on a sagebrush. ©Jonathan Lautenbach

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Grouse nest. ©Jonathan Lautenbach

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Juvenile sharp-tailed grouse. ©Jonathan Lautenbach

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5-10 day old grouse chick. ©Jonathan Lautenbach
When I was drawing this image, I wanted to help focus the audiences to the different life stages to show that these are the most important part of the visualization. To do this, I placed boxes around the birds and nests and I drew them and the arrows connecting them with a darker pencil to emphasize them.When creating this image, my intended audiences were project stake-holders and landowners in the area where I conduct my research. However, with a little refinement I think that an image like this would be useful in a scientific presentation as well.

Overall, I feel like I did a decent job of trying to portray this topic, however there is room for improvement on this image that would make it more appealing and useful for different audiences. In future drafts of this image I would like to add color (potentially using actual photos instead of the drawings). This would allow me to better represent the birds as well as the landscape features that might influence survival.

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