Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Lynne Trulio

Subject Areas

Environmental studies


Western snowy plovers (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) breed and winter along sandy beaches and salt pannes of the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Mexico. Since 2015, the percentage of successful nests in Monterey Bay has declined due to predation. This study examines the site fidelity and dispersal of western snowy plovers after repeated nest loss using nesting data from 2013-2020 from a banded population in Monterey, California. Dispersal distance within a breeding season reflected plovers serially polygamous breeding strategy, with more site fidelity within a breeding season than between two breeding seasons. Nests lost to environmental causes having a 41.3% shorter dispersal distance than those lost to predators and 66.5% shorter than those lost to human causes. In models, nest fate and winter migration status were the most important variables in predicting dispersal distance for male plovers. I also found that the fledging success rate of natal sites had no impact on first year breeding plovers’ natal dispersal. I found that the most managed causes of loss, human and predator, caused the furthest dispersal. Exploring predator management options and an increase in public education is necessary for management.

Available for download on Sunday, August 31, 2025