Rocky Mountain Section - 72nd Annual Meeting - 2020

Paper No. 1-1
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


SANCHEZ, Mary L.1, BUTLER, Jaimi K.1, MARTIN, Cayla1 and KIMBERLY, David2, (1)Great Salt Lake Institute, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, (2)Department of Biology, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

The Great Salt Lake is one of the largest migratory stops for many species of birds in North America. At Rozel Point, along the banks of the Great Salt Lake, there are tar seeps where some species of birds have gotten entrapped and died. During the summer months, the tar becomes viscous due to the warmer weather; the consistency makes it easy for animals to get entrapped in the tar. The temperature that the seeps become viscous, the possibility of prey animals drawing predators in, and the appearance of the tar seeps are all important aspects of why animals get entrapped. Using motion sensor cameras and temperature loggers, the animals that visit the tar seeps and the temperature variation of the seeps were monitored. Our data from summer 2018 and 2019 suggest that the most common species entrapped at Rozel Point are American White Pelicans. The purpose of this study is to monitor activity at the tar seeps to keep track of the mortalities that occur there, while observing the preservations of the animals in real time. Monitoring the fossilizations in the tar in its early stages allows us to use this site as a modern analog to other petroleum deposits with fossils already found in them.