INVESTIGATING RELATIVE DISTURBANCE RISK TO SEABIRDS AND PINNIPEDS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.
Claire Nasr; Humboldt State University, Wildlife Department; 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA, 95521; (530) 520-1628; cmn15@humboldt.edu; Daniel C. Barton, Shannon Brinkman
Rocky coastlines incur high impacts from human use, but these places are also essential habitat for seabirds and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). Understanding risks of disturbance to marine wildlife from human use can inform science-based cooperative management in areas where humans and wildlife overlap. Marine wildlife use coastal rocks to breed, rest, and engage in social interaction and exhibit different habitat use during the breeding and non-breeding season. Temporal change in use is determined by oceanographic variability, which influence prey availability, and consequently shape obligate behaviors such as caring for young. Peak timing of human use occurs in spring/summer, coinciding with breeding seasons for colonial seabirds and gregarious pinnipeds. The high potential of spatial and temporal overlap between human and seabird use of rocky coastlines (especially in the summer months) could lead to high risk of disturbance events such as flushing individuals from nests or separating mom-pup pairs. We investigate relative risk of disturbance to marine wildlife from human use activities using spatial overlap analysis in Trinidad, California. Results will identify targeted management areas, provide a risk assessment based on seasonal use patterns, and help target specific user groups for education, outreach and enforcement for marine wildlife protection.
Ecology and Conservation of Birds I   Student Paper