Piping plovers benefited from Hurricane Sandy

Piping plovers on New York’s Fire Island had more sand flats to occupy after Hurricane Sandy. ©Alberto_VO5

The damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy to human communities has been well documented. But for piping plovers, the powerful storm in October 2012 was a boon. Researchers found that on New York’s Fire Island, the piping plover (Charadrius melodus) population increased 93 percent after the storm. Listed as endangered in the state, the plovers took advantage of new sand flats created when the storm deposited sand from the oceanside to the bayside, the New York Times reports, and by new areas created by coastal engineering as part of the recovery effort. After the storm, researchers found, landscape the plovers could use increased about 50 percent.

Read more in the New York Times, and read the study in Ecosphere.