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

Iowa Project

Using new transmitter technology to evaluate the effects of environmental change and disturbance on shorebird breeding phenology, behavior, and nest success

January 2022 - September 2024


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Geologicaly Survey Science Suppo

Arctic-breeding shorebirds are declining, and predation is a leading cause of nest predation. Some scientists argue that predation is increasing due to climate change, but others assert that increased human disturbance as a result of intensive nest monitoring is alterting predators to nest sites. To better understand this issue, we attached GPS tags to dunlin during the pre-breeding season, and used location data (downloaded remotely) to estimate nest success. Paired with estimated nest success from nearby long-term monitoring plots, we aim to understand nest survival in the absence of human disturbance. We are also investigating how environmental conditions influence adult behaviors and reproductive success.