Sea level rise and predation threaten saltmarsh sparrow population

Seaside (Ammodramus maritimus) and saltmarsh sparrows (A. caudacutus) have a lot in common. Both spend virtually their entire lives along coastal salt marshes, and both face similar threats to their nests from predators and flooding. One species seems more at risk from local extinction due to current rates of predation, but both will face the negative consequences of sea level rise long-term, according to a recent study. In a study published in Condor: Ornithological Applications, researchers looked at how these two Atlantic Coast salt marsh obligate species are faring in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey and how they will respond to projected climate change-induced sea level rise and predator management scenarios. They found that the saltmarsh sparrow population was likely to disappear from the refuge under sea level rise scenarios, while seaside sparrows persisted. A nest full of saltmarsh sparrows. The vegetation is wet due to tides, and the nest, which is located only a few centimeters off the ground, is vulnerable to flooding and predation. ©Sam Roberts “The initial finding was basically that seaside sparrows are stable,” said Samuel Griffith Roberts, a research associate at the University of Delaware and lead author of the … Continue reading Sea level rise and predation threaten saltmarsh sparrow population