Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Dakota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Dakota Project

Predator Cascade and Nest Success: Changes in Foraging Patterns as a Function of Grassland Patch Dynamics and Vegetation Composition

July 2017 - June 2021


Participating Agencies

  • South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks via Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration

Predator-prey interactions influence vital rates and predation is a major cause of nest failure of ground-nesting birds (e.g., waterfowl). With continued grassland loss associated with conversion to row crop agriculture, and changing predator communities (e.g., declines in red fox, active coyote control), understanding how habitat dynamics influence predator-prey interactions and nest success of ground-nesting birds will improve development of comprehensive management recommendations for remaining grasslands, restoration or reclamation efforts, and for active management programs that wish to modify grassland regimes or predator communities themselves to improve nesting habitat and nest survival.

Research Publications Publication Date
Fino, S., J.D. Stafford, A.T. Pearse, and J.A. Jenks. 2019. Incidental captures of Plains Spotted Skunks (Spilogale putorius interrupta) in central South Dakota. The Prairie Naturalist 51:33-36. October 2019
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
FINO, S.R. 2023. Relating predator community ecology and duck nest survival in eastern South Dakota. Ph.D. Dissertation, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. 265 pp. April 2023