Effects of Industrial and Investigator Disturbance on Arctic-Nesting Geese

Oil and gas development on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska, USA may have effects on Arctic-nesting birds. To estimate effects of industrial activity and investigator disturbance on avian productivity, we monitored nests of greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) with digital cameras and periodic nest visits during 2013–2014 at 2 sites on the ACP. A disturbed site was adjacent to human-made infrastructure and industrial clean-up activities initiated at the onset of the study and a control site was >2 km from sources of industrial disturbance. We assessed variation in estimates of incubation constancy, nest survival, and predator behavior relative to site, year, and distance from industrial activity using nest photographs obtained at 1-minute intervals. We compared analysis of hourly nest survival informed by intensive monitoring with cameras to analysis of daily nest survival informed by traditional nest visit data obtained at intervals of 5–7 days to assess how method and time scale of sampling affect ecological inference.

Indirect vehicular and aircraft disturbance posed less risk to nest survival than direct encroachment by observers at nest sites. Therefore, effects of industrial activities on avian productivity in the Arctic can be minimized through practices that limit direct encounters with nests

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
ISO Topics biota, environment
Primary Contact Brandt Meixell (bmeixell@usgs.gov)
Other Contacts Paul Flint (Email: pflint@usgs.gov)
Primary Organization USGS Alaska Science Center
Funding Organizations USGS Alaska Science Center
Organization Types Federal
Geo-keywords North Slope
Created July 19, 2017, 05:57 (AKDT)
Last Updated July 1, 2021, 23:38 (AKDT)