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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2015

Authors: Soldatini, C; Albores-Barajas, YV; Tagliavia, M; Massa, B; Fusani, L; Canoine, V

Title: Effects of human disturbance on cave-nesting seabirds: the case of the storm petrel.

Source: Conserv Physiol (3) cov041 .



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Fusani Leonida

Vetmed Research Units
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Unit of Ornithology


Abstract:
Human disturbance is an important stress factor with potentially strong impact on breeding activity in animals. The consequences can be extinction of the breeding population, because disturbed animals might desert their breeding area and find no suitable substitute area. In this study, we investigated the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on a breeding population of Mediterranean storm petrels. Seabirds are increasingly used as bio-indicators for sea environmental parameters, because they are very sensitive to changing conditions. Burrowing or cave-nesting species may be particularly susceptible to human disturbance because their direct contact with humans is usually minimal or absent. First, we compared two different populations (exposed or not exposed to human disturbance) for their individual stress response to a standardized stressor (handling and keeping in a cloth bag). Second, we compared the two sub-colonies for their population-level stress response. Third, we tested experimentally whether sub-colonies of storm petrels exposed to tourism have physiological adaptations to anthropogenic disturbances. Our results indicate that storm petrels may be habituated to moderate disturbance associated with boat traffic close to the colony.


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