Mammalian mesocarnivore visitation at tortoise burrows in a wind farm

Mickey Agha, Amanda L. Smith, Jeffrey E. Lovich, David Delaney, Joshua R. Ennen, Jessica Briggs, Leo J. Fleckenstein, Laura A. Tennant, Shellie R. Puffer, Andrew Walde, Terence R. Arundel, Steven J. Price, Brian D. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is little information on predator–prey interactions in wind energy landscapes in North America, especially among terrestrial vertebrates. Here, we evaluated how proximity to roads and wind turbines affect mesocarnivore visitation with desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and their burrows in a wind energy landscape. In 2013, we placed motion-sensor cameras facing the entrances of 46 active desert tortoise burrows in a 5.2-km2 wind energy facility near Palm Springs, California, USA. Cameras recorded images of 35 species of reptiles, mammals, and birds. Counts for 4 species of mesocarnivores at desert tortoise burrows increased closer to dirt roads, and decreased closer to wind turbines. Our results suggest that anthropogenic infrastructure associated with wind energy facilities could influence the general behavior of mammalian predators and their prey. Further investigation of proximate mechanisms that underlie road and wind turbine effects (i.e., ground vibrations, sound emission, and traffic volume) and on wind energy facility spatial designs (i.e., road and wind turbine configuration) could prove useful for better understanding wildlife responses to wind energy development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1124
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Volume81
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Wildlife Society, 2017

Keywords

  • Gopherus agassizii
  • burrow symbionts
  • meso-predator
  • predator–prey interactions
  • renewable energy
  • roads
  • trail camera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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