Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2018


The Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) is experiencing steep population declines, with extinction likely within the next few decades. Sea-level rise has been identified as a major threat to the species, but little has been done to examine the effects of other aspects of climate change on Saltmarsh Sparrow populations. In this study, I examine whether drought affects reproductive success in the Saltmarsh Sparrow. I use nest- and chick-monitoring data collected over five years across the northern half of the species range to test whether drought conditions affect four metrics of reproductive success in these birds: hatch rate, clutch size, chick growth rate, and fledge. Drought had little to no effect on any metric of reproductive success, though I did detect some minor nonlinear patterns. The results from these analyses suggest that sea-level rise is indeed the largest climate change-related threat faced by this species.