Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife
Committee Chair Name
Dr. Mark Colwell
Committee Chair Affiliation
HSU Faculty or Staff
Second Committee Member Name
Dr. Daniel Barton
Second Committee Member Affiliation
HSU Faculty or Staff
Third Committee Member Name
Dr. Jared Wolfe
Third Committee Member Affiliation
Community Member or Outside Professional
Productivity measures, such as nest survival, are often used to indirectly assess habitat quality and guide targeted management practices for the conservation of threatened and endangered species. The coastal population of the Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) is listed as threatened due to three limiting factors: human disturbance, loss and degradation of habitat as a result of invasive plants, and increasing predator populations. I examined the relative influence of these three limiting factors on nest survival, using data from 2004 to 2017 at eight sites in Humboldt County, California. I assigned nests (n = 610) to three categories of restoration (unrestored, human- and naturally restored areas) and created an index of human and predator activity using point count data. I used a staged modeling approach under an information-theoretic framework to analyze nest survival in program RMark. Survival varied by year and site, and increased with nest age and as the breeding season progressed. Restoration had the greatest influence on nest survival, and human and corvid activity had a weak effect (i.e., not strong predictors) when compared to restoration. Both natural and human-implemented restoration had a positive effect on nest survival, whereas unrestored areas had a negative effect. Natural restoration had higher and less variable nest survival (i.e., a stronger effect) than human-implemented restoration. I recommend managers focus on conserving, maintaining, and creating restoration areas to enhance nest survival.
Journal of Wildlife Management
Raby, Katelyn M., "Western snowy plover nest survival in Humboldt County, California" (2018). Cal Poly Humboldt theses and projects. 232.