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The early shorebird will catch fewer invertebrates on trampled sandy beaches

Schlacher, Thomas A., Carracher, Lucy K., Porch, Nicholas, Connolly, Rod M., Olds, Andrew D., Gilby, Ben L., Ekanayake, Kasun B., Maslo, Brooke and Weston, Michael A. 2016, The early shorebird will catch fewer invertebrates on trampled sandy beaches, PLoS One, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. 1-13, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161905.

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Title The early shorebird will catch fewer invertebrates on trampled sandy beaches
Author(s) Schlacher, Thomas A.
Carracher, Lucy K.
Porch, NicholasORCID iD for Porch, Nicholas orcid.org/0000-0001-7179-3843
Connolly, Rod M.
Olds, Andrew D.
Gilby, Ben L.
Ekanayake, Kasun B.
Maslo, Brooke
Weston, Michael A.ORCID iD for Weston, Michael A. orcid.org/0000-0002-8717-0410
Journal name PLoS One
Volume number 11
Issue number 8
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2016-08-26
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) beaches
invertebrates
birds
predation
coasts
oceans
species diversity
habitats
Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
PLOVERS THINORNIS-RUBRICOLLIS
OFF-ROAD VEHICLES
HABITAT SELECTION
HUMAN DISTURBANCE
GHOST CRABS
CONSERVATION
IMPACTS
POPULATION
MACROFAUNA
Summary Many species of birds breeding on ocean beaches and in coastal dunes are of global conservation concern. Most of these species rely on invertebrates (e.g. insects, small crustaceans) as an irreplaceable food source, foraging primarily around the strandline on the upper beach near the dunes. Sandy beaches are also prime sites for human recreation, which impacts these food resources via negative trampling effects. We quantified acute trampling impacts on assemblages of upper shore invertebrates in a controlled experiment over a range of foot traffic intensities (up to 56 steps per square metre) on a temperate beach in Victoria, Australia. Trampling significantly altered assemblage structure (species composition and density) and was correlated with significant declines in invertebrate abundance and species richness. Trampling effects were strongest for rare species. In heavily trafficked plots the abundance of sand hoppers (Amphipoda), a principal prey item of threatened Hooded Plovers breeding on this beach, was halved. In contrast to the consistently strong effects of trampling, natural habitat attributes (e.g. sediment grain size, compactness) were much less influential predictors. If acute suppression of invertebrates caused by trampling, as demonstrated here, is more widespread on beaches it may constitute a significant threat to endangered vertebrates reliant on these invertebrates. This calls for a re-thinking of conservation actions by considering active management of food resources, possibly through enhancement of wrack or direct augmentation of prey items to breeding territories.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0161905
Field of Research 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio Economic Objective 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30085777

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Created: Sun, 18 Sep 2016, 14:07:01 EST

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.