Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-10-2017

Faculty Advisor(s)

Walter Piper


Tameness is a measure of tolerance towards human disturbance. As human disturbance and recreational activity are increasing, it is becoming more and more important to understand responses of species to this disturbance. Tameness has been shown to be influenced by an individuals characteristics and life history. Two possible determinants of tameness are breeding stage and parentage. We studied tameness in common loons (Gavia immer) specifically looking at the effects of breeding stage and parentage. Tameness was measured by flight initiation distance (FID), the distance at which a loon dove from an approaching human observer in a canoe. Loons with chicks were tamer than prenesting loons suggesting that they are less afraid of human when rearing their young. A loon’s tameness was also positively correlated with that of its parent suggesting that tameness may be heritable or learned from the parents.


Presented at the Spring 2017 Student Research Day at Chapman University.