Dr. Linda Walters
Living shoreline stabilization is a technique that utilizes plants and other natural elements to protect estuarine coasts. Research has provided minimal information about which vertebrate species utilize living shorelines post-deployment. For this project, ten wildlife cameras were placed along a living shoreline site in Canaveral National Seashore (CANA) to document which vertebrate species utilize the living shoreline and surrounding vegetation. This shoreline was stabilized with red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) shell bags in June 2019. The cameras, activated by motion sensors, remained at the site for five days a month for seven months (September 2019 - March 2020) to identify vertebrates and their behaviors. Wildlife camera footage provided data on which vertebrate species visited the site, what behaviors were exhibited, and what impact (if any) the vertebrate species had on the stabilization materials. Birds (i.e., wading birds and songbirds) and mammals (i.e., raccoons, feral hogs, deer, opossums, rats, and bobcats) were observed (total n=1,608). The North American raccoon (Procyon lotor; n=799) and the feral hog (Sus scrofa; n=523) were the most abundant vertebrates. Solitary foraging was the most observed behavior (n=552) among all vertebrate species, followed by group foraging (n=518). Both individuals and groups of P. lotor (n=9 for mangroves; n=38 for shell bags) and S. scrofa (n=6 for mangroves; n=0 for shell bags) contacted the stabilization materials. No consumption or dislodgment of stabilization materials by any species was observed. Results indicate that living shorelines provide habitat for many vertebrates (25 unique species) and these species do not negatively impact stabilization materials less than one-year post-deployment.
Rifenberg, Julia; Litwak, Jason; and Fillyaw, Rebecca
"Vertebrate Impact on a Newly Deployed Shoreline Stabilization Project by Wildlife Camera Analysis,"
The Pegasus Review: UCF Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 13:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/urj/vol13/iss2/3