Graduation Date

Fall 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Program

Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

First Committee Member Name

Dr. Daniel Barton

First Committee Member Email

Daniel.Barton@humboldt.edu

First Committee Member Affililation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. William Bean

Second Committee Member Email

tim.bean@humboldt.edu

Second Committee Member Affililation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Mark Colwell

Third Committee Member Email

mark.colwell@humboldt.edu

Third Committee Member Affililation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Dr. Richard Golightly

Fourth Committee Member Email

richard.golightly@humboldt.edu

Fourth Committee Member Affililation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Abstract

Variation in reproductive success is widely measured in seabird biology in an effort to indicate changes in the marine environment, or understand basic questions about ecology or conservation of seabirds. When variation in seabird reproductive success is suggested to indicate changes in the marine environment without identifying the proximate causes of such variation, inference is limited to association, and the proximate causes themselves could prove more effective as indicators. My study informs this problem by examining and quantifying proximate causes of variation in reproductive success, at the level of nests and individual chicks.

I used video of Brandt’s Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) nests on Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to monitor parental care behaviors and test their influence on reproductive success in 2015. I also estimated annual variation in survival of both nests and individual eggs and chicks from 2011-2015 on Castle Rock NWR. Lastly, I compared nest survival to individual egg and chick survival to evaluate and improve upon how seabird reproductive success is traditionally measured.

Parental care behaviors had no statistical influence on survival in 2015, but nest and individual egg and chick survival varied dramatically from 2011-2015 (nest survival range: 0.083-0.942; individual survival range: 0.037-0.719). Derived estimates of nest survival from egg and chick survival demonstrated validity of measuring individual survival. My results demonstrated that inclusion of proximate causal factors that influence reproductive success and contemporary parameter estimation methods help inform seabird biology and current monitoring techniques.

Citation Style

Journal of Wildlife Management

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