27 Oct 2011:
Camera Traps in Arctic
Show Impact of Oil Development on Birds
Using a network of camera traps, scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have documented how oil development in the Arctic tundra can increase the presence of predators that attack nesting bird populations
. WCS biologist Joe Liebezeit placed camera traps —
An Arctic fox charges a goose nest in the Prudhoe Bay oilfields
automated cameras that take photos whenever an animal triggers an infrared sensor — near drilling sites in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oilfields and in a remote, undeveloped location in the tundra. The traps showed a larger number of predators — including foxes, ravens, and gulls — preying on nesting birds near the oilfields
. Oil drilling structures not only provide nesting and denning territory for predators, but garbage from the drilling areas also provides food, increasing the predators’ numbers. “The presence of people and structures enable these [predators] to live in areas that otherwise would not be preferred or suitable habitat, or to do so in greater numbers than would normally be the case,” said Liebezeit. “As a result, they have more access to the nests of migratory birds and can exploit a vulnerable food source.” Liebezeit and his colleagues found that nesting Lapland longspurs and phalaropes were particularly harmed by the increase in predators.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.