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Productivity of American Oystercatchers nesting on spoil islands at the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area

American Oystercatchers and Ruddy Turnstones looking at a snake on the spoil islands of Florida's Big Bend region


August 2016 - August 2019


Within Florida, oystercatchers are breeding at about 50 areas (managed land boundaries, DOD properties, etc.), with >90% of the population concentrated on the Gulf Coast. Nesting habitat within the Nature Coast is limited to a few small offshore islands around Cedar Key, the Horseshoe Beach jetties, and on spoil islands in Citrus County. The Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area (CFG) spoil islands in Citrus County support the largest concentration of nesting oystercatchers along the Nature Coast Region and the fourth largest concentration in the state.
The objectives of this study are to use existing data and collect additional field data (2016-2018) to:
(1) determine causes of mortality and disturbance (using existing data as well as conducting direct observations and use of remote cameras)
(2) estimate annual productivity (2012-2018) with respect to covariates such as potential sources of disturbance, presence of predators, and food supply.
(3) propose management actions to increase annual productivity of oystercatchers nesting on spoil islands in the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area

Research Products and Activities


  • Vitale, N., A. Powell, and J. Brush. 2017. Habitat change, predators, and disturbance: factors influencing productivity of American Oystercatchers nesting in Florida's Big Bend. Florida Ornithological Society Annual Meeting, Gainesville, FL.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 4

Phd Students: 4

Post Docs: 0

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 10

Scientific Publications: 21

Presentations: 44



  • Abby PowellPrincipal Investigator
  • Nicholas VitaleStudent

Funding Agencies

  • University of Florida, Nature Coast Biological Station
  • USGS


Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Florida
  5. Wildlife Management Institute