GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 229-11
Presentation Time: 4:30 PM


LIEDTKE, Kyra Jade, National Park Service, Fort Matanzas Historic Monument, 8635 A1A S, St. Augustine, FL 32080

A colony of Least Terns (Sterna antillarum) has used the loose coquina sand at Fort Matanzas Historic Monument as breeding grounds for several years. Being protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Natural Resource Management for Fort Matanzas has provided approximately 11.6 acres of land for the Least Terns. Fluctuating populations of Least Terns have driven observational studies which considers the effects of natural and unnatural disturbances to the nesting colonies.

By using an observational study approach, I was able to research the Least Tern population without disturbing the nesting colony. My research findings indicate that the population density of Least Terns has increased, but with fluctuations throughout the years since the park started to manage the colony. Further, the research reflects reasons why the population has been inconstant throughout the years and why natural resource management is important in the National Parks. Various components such as driving, irresponsible pet ownership, and lack of information add onto the natural disturbances the Least Terns already have to coexist with in order to have a successful breeding season.

By researching the relation of management to the population dynamics of the Least Terns, it becomes evident that human disturbance is just as disruptive as natural disturbance to the Matanzas population of Least Terns. My research reflects how good resource management practices can help protect wildlife as well as allow the public to experience ecosystems within National Parks all of the United States.