Graduation Date

Fall 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Program

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

Subject Categories

Wildlife Management

Abstract

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.

Citation Style

Journal of Wildlife Management

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