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Impacts of Human Disturbance on the Behavior of Sanderlings on the Georgia Coast

By Amy Catherine Gray

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Habitat loss has a serious impact on wildlife. However, even when humans do not destroy habitat, their activity can have negative impacts on behavior. The purpose of my study was (1) to test whether the presence of humans altered the behavior of Sanderlings (Calidris alba), (2) to quantify the impacts of staged human encounters on Sanderlings, and (3) to assess whether Sanderlings on high-disturbance beaches habituate to the presence of humans. The study was conducted on two Georgia barrier islands with varying levels of human disturbances, Tybee Island and Sapelo Island. I found that Sanderlings on a high-disturbance beach had lower foraging success than those on a low-disturbance beach. Across sites, Sanderling foraging success decreased with increasing number of people. Staged encounters on a low-disturbance beach reduced Sanderling foraging activity to that of a Sanderling on a high-disturbance beach. There was no evidence of habituation to people on high-disturbance beaches.


Katie Carroll

Date 2006
Publisher Georgia Southern University
Department Department of Biology
Degree Master of Science in Biology
Language English
University Georgia Southern University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals in culture
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Birds
  4. Coastal areas
  5. Destruction of animals
  6. Ecology
  7. Habitats
  8. human-animal conflict
  9. Nature
  10. oceans
  11. Physical environment
  12. wildlife