Bald eagles as vectors of marine nutrients – Central Coast Islands (100 Islands study area) – May – July 2017

In this observational study, we quantify the relationship between eagle activity, soil chemistry, and vegetation composition. This dataset consists of plot description, eagle and reference tree information, vegetation data, and soil chemistry data. Data is in tabular form.

Based on foraging behavior and nesting habits, I propose that bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are an important vector of marine nutrient transfer. Although their diet is largely marine-based, bald eagles generally consume their prey on land. This behavior results in deposition of guano and prey remains that are likely chemically or nutritionally similar to seabird guano and may produce similar ecological responses. Altered soil characteristics may include increased concentration of marine-derived nitrogen (δ15N), total nitrogen, and phosphorous, and decreased pH. Previous research shows a correlation between changes in soil chemistry and an increase in plant biomass and decrease in plant species richness at seabird colony sites, presumably because certain plant species were able to dominate under high nutrient-low pH conditions. If long-term additions of nitrogen from bald eagle guano and prey remains do change soil chemistry, a shift toward more nitrophilous species may be most evident in the homogenous, salal-dominated understories of Central Coast islands.

Access and Use

Licence: Appropriate credit must be given to Hakai Institute and the authors of the dataset.

Data and Resources


Metadata Created October 26, 2018, 22:48 (UTC)
Metadata Updated October 26, 2018, 22:48 (UTC)
Reference Date(s) 2017-12-20 (Creation)
Frequency of Update
Metadata Date September 24, 2018, 19:30 (UTC)
Temporal Extent Begin May 20, 2017, 00:00 (UTC)
Temporal Extent End July 19, 2017, 00:00 (UTC)

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Additional Info

Field Value
Contact Email
encoding utf8
metadata-language eng
progress completed
resource-type dataset
Responsible Party University of Victoria (Point of Contact)
spatial-reference-system 32609