Authors: Maguire, G. S.; Rimmer, J. M.; Weston, M. A.
Source: JOURNAL OF COASTAL CONSERVATION, 19 (1):73-77, FEB 2015
Brief summary of the paper: One way of measuring pre-existing knowledge of a threatened species and its circumstances is to measure the degree of surprise expressed by stakeholders in relation to factual statements regarding the species.
Beach-goers (n = 684) were surveyed in regard to their knowledge of the beach-dwelling, threatened, Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis, a coastal obligate in south eastern Australia.
Principle components analysis revealed that respondents’ degree of knowledge could be categorized as involving ‘chick (flightless young) ecology’ and ‘human impacts’ (threatening processes). Respondents were more surprised by aspects of chick ecology than by threatening processes (F1,514 = 460.446, p < 0.001). Prior knowledge of the species was associated with less surprise at factual statements.
Therefore, priorities for further education should focus on linking threats with chick ecology, particularly because an understanding that chicks are not stationary within fenced areas is critical to the interpretation and effectiveness of current signage used to mitigate human impacts.