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Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast

October 1, 2016

Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand piping plover habitat distribution and use along their Atlantic Coast breeding range. A smartphone application called iPlover was developed to collect standardized data on habitat characteristics at piping plover nest locations. The application capitalized on a network of trained monitors that observe piping plovers throughout their U.S. Atlantic coast breeding range as part of the species recovery plan. Monitors used iPlover to document nest locations as well as randomly distributed points at beaches and barrier islands over ~1500 km of coast between Maine and North Carolina, USA. This work is one component of a larger research and management program that seeks to understand and sustain ecological value, ecosystem services, and habitat suitability of beaches in the face of storm impacts, climate change, and sea-level rise. Tabular digital data generated by field data collection with iPlover with accompanying site photographs in JPEG format are presented in this data release.