Disturbance and Environmental Effects on Staging Roseate Tern Parent-Offspring Interactions and Hatch Year Survival at Cape Cod National Seashore
Davis, Kayla L.
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The study that I detail in the following thesis is a component of a three-part collaborative project to provide the U. S. National Park Service and Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) with data needed to inform management decisions for protection of the endangered northwest Atlantic Roseate Tern (ROST) during fall pre-migratory staging. This study was designed to address objectives related to hatch-year (HY) ROST behavior and survival in response to human and non-human activities and environmental variables at CCNS. Behavioral data showed that disturbance, specifically human and non-human activities, were related to increased HY ROST locomotion (flying and walking). We also found that environmental variables, including day of season and time of day were related to increased locomotion. Flock-level HY ROST begging behavior was decreased in the presence of human disturbance, but we did not see the same effect at the individual level. We found no evidence that the observed behavioral effect of disturbance resulted in decreased residency, recruitment, or staging duration of HY ROST at CCNS. Our work demonstrates that disturbance events around staging flocks have behavioral consequences, but it is unknown whether HY ROST behavioral responses to disturbances are great enough to impact survival after departure from CCNS. A conservative and proactive management strategy to minimize the potential for negative carryover effects on survival should limit ROST exposure to disturbance, particularly human activities, by exclosing staging sites between mid-July–mid-September to encompass the period of time when the highest number of ROST use CCNS.
- Masters Theses