Sara M Kross

Sara M Kross
Columbia University | CU · Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology

PhD

About

44
Publications
12,915
Reads
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708
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2015 - present
University of California, Davis
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Encouraging owl predation of rodents by erecting owl boxes: myth or potential management strategy?
August 2013 - September 2015
University of California, Davis
Position
  • David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow
Description
  • http://conbio.org/mini-sites/smith-fellows/meet-the-fellows/2013-fellows/sara-kross/
August 2012 - June 2013
New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural landscapes are becoming an important focus of animal conservation, although initiatives to conserve predators to date have rarely provided economic benefits to agricultural producers. We examined whether introduction to vineyards of the New Zealand Falcon(Falco novaeseelandiae), a species listed as threatened by the New Zealand Departm...
Article
Full-text available
Introduced mammalian predators have been implicated in the majority of avian extinctions on oceanic islands around the globe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the decimated New Zealand avifauna, where introduced predators remain the primary threat to virtually all surviving endemic species, including the threatened New Zealand Falcon Falco nov...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic landscapes can be rich in resources, and may in some cases provide potential habitat for species whose natural habitat has declined. We used remote videography to assess whether reintroducing individuals of the threatened New Zealand falcon Falco novaeseelandiae into a highly modified agricultural habitat affected the feeding rates of...
Article
Full-text available
1. Remote videography allows continuous and reviewable recording of unique behaviours with minimal disturbance to focus individuals. It is therefore an excellent, although often unaffordable, method for observing the behaviour of wildlife in the field. 2. We describe a digital video-based remote videography design that costs under USD 900 and requi...
Article
American barn owls (Tyto furcata) often rely on nest box networks for breeding, especially within agricultural landscapes. Nest boxes are commonly installed for pest management purposes and require regular maintenance, such as removal of pellet debris and repairs, to remain functional and safe for breeding owls. Ideally, nest box maintenance should...
Article
Full-text available
The IUCN Red List plays a key role in setting global conservation priorities and is populated via rigorous, time‐intensive assessments. Here, we test rapid preliminary assessments of plant extinction risk using one Red List metric: Extent of Occurrence (EOO). We developed REBA (Rapid EOO‐Based Assessment) to harvest and clean data from the Global B...
Article
Full-text available
Black bears ( Ursus americanus ) are an iconic and common species throughout much of the United States and people regularly interact with these large predators without conflict. However, negative interactions between people and bears can manifest in conflicts that can hinder conservation efforts. Black bears are highly attracted to anthropogenic so...
Article
Full-text available
The plot-level decisions of land managers (i.e., farmers, ranchers, and forest owners) influence landscape-scale environmental outcomes for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. The impacts of their decisions often develop in complex, non-additive ways that unfold over time and space. Behavioral science offers insights into ways decision-makers...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity-friendly management is pivotal for sustainable agriculture, but rarely put into practice by farmers despite mounting evidence of the social, environmental, and economic benefits of such practices. We investigated the reasons for this implementation challenge by conducting a transdisciplinary survey to identify differences between perce...
Article
The overpopulation of domestic cats (Felis catus) presents a serious concern for wildlife conservationists, animal welfare advocates, public health officials, and community members alike. In cities, free-ranging, unowned cats often form high-density groups (commonly called ‘colonies’) around human provisioned food sources. While previous diet studi...
Preprint
Full-text available
The IUCN Red List plays a key role in setting global conservation priorities. Species are added to the Red List through a rigorous assessment process that, while robust, can be quite time-intensive. Here, we test the rapid preliminary assessment of plant species extinction risk using a single Red List metric: Extent of Occurrence (EOO). To do so, w...
Article
Full-text available
Urban development alters landscape structure and available resources, potentially threatening avian diversity worldwide. However, it is unclear how bird communities respond in areas currently undergoing urban development, particularly in the non-breeding season. We examined avian communities at 8 parks in urban (within established urban matrix; >50...
Article
Full-text available
Agriculture-dominated landscapes harbor significantly diminished biodiversity. Woody vegetation along field margins can provide farmers with ecosystem services and benefit biodiversity. However, when crops are damaged by the biodiversity harbored in such vegetation, farmers are reluctant to incorporate field margin habitat onto their land and may e...
Poster
Full-text available
Agricultural landscapes are important wildlife habitat, and many species provide beneficial ecosystem services to farmers. Barn Owls (Tyto alba) likely provide valuable pest control for farmers, as over 99% of their diet is comprised of pest species (such as gophers, voles, mice, and rats) that cause damage to crops and reduce yields. Each owl is e...
Poster
Full-text available
The vast agricultural landscape of California’s Central Valley supports a wintering raptor population among the most abundant and diverse in the United States and Canada and provides some of the last remaining compatible habitat for birds of prey in the region. On industrial farms, anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are an important component of inte...
Preprint
Agriculture-dominated landscapes harbor significantly diminished biodiversity, but are also areas in which significant gains in biodiversity can be achieved. Planting or retaining woody vegetation along field margins can provide farmers with valuable ecosystem services while simultaneously benefitting biodiversity. However, when crops are damaged b...
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural management practices have impacts not only on crops and livestock, but also on soil, water, wildlife, and ecosystem services. Agricultural research provides evidence about these impacts, but it is unclear how this evidence should be used to make decisions. Two methods are widely used in decision making: evidence synthesis and decision...
Article
Experimental exclosure of birds and bats constitutes a powerful tool to study the impacts of wildlife on pests and crop yields in agricultural systems. Though widely utilized, exclosure experiments are not standardized across studies. Indeed, key differences surrounding the design, materials, and protocols for implementing field-based exclosure exp...
Article
Full-text available
Most raptor species rely on perches for hunting, resting, preening, and roosting, and in many agricultural areas the availability of adequate perches can limit raptor abundance and diversity. This has negative implications for both raptor conservation and for the provisioning of natural pest control services for farmers. Installing artificial perch...
Article
Considerable funding has been allocated to conservation management of non-crop habitat in agricultural landscapes, particularly field margin habitat such as hedgerows. Evaluation of the biodiversity benefits of non-crop habitat has lagged behind implementation, however, especially in the United States where this habitat has the potential to supply...
Article
Full-text available
Policy makers are increasingly encouraging farmers to protect or enhance habitat on their farms for wildlife conservation. However, a lack of knowledge of farmers’ opinions toward wildlife can lead to poor integration of conservation measures. We surveyed farmers to assess their perceptions of ecosystem services and disservices from perching birds,...
Poster
Full-text available
In order to inform farmers interested in enhancing biological pest control, we aim to gain a better understanding of how crop type affects the composition of Barn Owl diet. For further reading see: Kross, S. M., Bourbour, R. P., & Martinico, B. L. 2016. Agricultural land use, barn owl diet, and vertebrate pest control implications. Agriculture, Eco...
Article
Barn owls (Tyto alba) are the most widespread raptor species on Earth, and because they are thought to provide natural vertebrate pest control services, farmers in some agricultural regions have encouraged barn owls to breed and hunt on their farms by installing artificial nest boxes. However, barn owl populations are declining in some agricultural...
Article
Full-text available
While many raptor species consume rodent pests, the behaviors and habits of barn owls make them particularly suitable candidates for consideration as a viable pest control strategy. As a cavity-nesting species, barn owls will readily nest in man-made structures including nest boxes. Barn owls are also less territorial than many other raptor species...
Article
Nearly 70 years after North American conservationist Aldo Leopold reflected on his own struggle with the relationship between humans and wildlife in ‘A Sand County Almanac’, conservation scientists are still wrestling with the extent to which their research aims to protect and restore ecosystems for ‘nature's sake’ (i.e. intrinsic value), or for ‘h...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Community-run conservation projects are becoming more prevalent and important in the preservation of key habitats and threatened species. However, for scientists and managers, bridging the gap to effectively recruit local people, work with media, and collaborate with schools and community groups can be a challenge. R...
Article
Full-text available
In a biodiversity conservation exercise a native raptor has been reintroduced to Marlborough, a wine-growing area in New Zealand's South Island, on the assumption that the abundant passerines attracted to the grapes will provide a natural food resource for this predator. As part of a study to assess the value of vineyards as habitat for the threate...
Data
Explanation of nest disturbance scores. (DOC)
Article
Full-text available
Adult raptors are thought to train their progeny in flight and hunting techniques during the period of dependence after fledging. Parental teaching is poorly understood but its effects may impinge on the success of reintroduction projects where juveniles are released into areas without adults, as is commonly done with raptors. We compared behaviour...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Question/Methods Land use intensification is driving range reduction and even extinction of many iconic species, despite the potential ecosystem services provided by these species. Although it is well documented that conserving natural enemies of insect pests may provide direct biological control benefits, comparatively little research...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Barn owls (Tyto alba) may be an environmentally beneficial integration into the current integrated pest management (IPM) strategies currently used in agricultural fields. Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) have been shown to be a leading cause of mortality in barn owls in the Central Valley of California due to their main prey species being the target species of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). Most studies pertaining to barn owls and ARs are in post-mortem circumstances, and little is known about barn owl nestlings and their interactions with anticoagulant rodenticides. We are focusing on nestling growth in relation to ARs by taking morphological measurements of nestlings in nest boxes on agricultural fields as well as collecting their pellets to run a toxin screen analysis. Toxin screens on pellets for ARs have been used very little in literature, and this study may provide additional, non-invasive methods to use to further research on the interactions between rodenticides and raptors. With this study, we aim to find a way to integrate barn owls into the current IPM to increase pest control management.
Project
We study avian ecology and conservation in agricultural landscapes, quantifying the costs and benefits for for both farmers and birds, the effectiveness of conservation activities, and the interactive effects of natural habitat amount, connectivity, and scale.