Abstract Title

Session S-04I: Citizen Science as a Tool for Conservation

Keywords

Citizens/Education

Start Date

1-5-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

Description

The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) leverages the expertise of citizen science birdwatchers to provide valuable data on wintering waterfowl throughout Puget Sound. Current ongoing efforts to estimate trends in seabird abundance are limited to aerial surveys organized by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), as part of the Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program (PSAMP). When compared to the Marine Ecosystems Analysis (MESA) of the 1970s, nearly all species have shown declines, however, the problem with comparing these two efforts is that the sampling protocols are different. A 2004-05 survey (J. Bower, Western Washington University) was established to replicate the land-based portion of the initial MESA project in north Puget Sound. Results from this survey agree partially with the PSAMP trends, but also show different trends for some species, including pigeon guillemots (declined 55% in the PSAMP survey, increased 60% in the WWU survey). These discrepancies underscore the niche that PSSS – the only shore-based, multi-month survey of seabirds in central and south Puget Sound – is uniquely capable of filling. The goal of the Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is to develop long-term, baseline, shore-based, density estimates for seabirds in Puget Sound. Over 80 sites in six coastal counties are visited by nearly ninety citizen scientists trained on a sophisticated protocol which utilizes distance sampling which addresses issues of detectability and allows inference to be made about species' abundance. Through partnerships with agencies and universities, PSSS data can be used in a variety of ways, including the ability to identify areas of stress and associated avian response, as well as the potential for identifying their responses when stressors are reduced. PSSS temporal data on seabird species presence by survey site are already being used by the WDFW Oil Spill team. A study was initiated in 2011 to quantitatively evaluate the degree of variation between citizen science observers in the PSSS program in species identification, counts of abundance of observed species, and distance estimates. With this information Seattle Audubon will better understand the strengths and limitations of the PSSS dataset, a prudent step before sharing with agencies and individuals leading research on Puget Sound. In 2013, a 12 month project was implemented that expands the PSSS geographically west to Cape Flattery and north to Deception Pass with additional training provided to the volunteer surveyors that prepares them to conduct oil surveys in the event of an oil spill. The project will produce baseline avian diversity and abundance data throughout the target geographic area which will aid in resource allocation in the event of a catastrophic spill.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 1st, 8:30 AM May 1st, 10:00 AM

Puget Sound Seabird Survey: Science by Citizens

Room 604

The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) leverages the expertise of citizen science birdwatchers to provide valuable data on wintering waterfowl throughout Puget Sound. Current ongoing efforts to estimate trends in seabird abundance are limited to aerial surveys organized by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), as part of the Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program (PSAMP). When compared to the Marine Ecosystems Analysis (MESA) of the 1970s, nearly all species have shown declines, however, the problem with comparing these two efforts is that the sampling protocols are different. A 2004-05 survey (J. Bower, Western Washington University) was established to replicate the land-based portion of the initial MESA project in north Puget Sound. Results from this survey agree partially with the PSAMP trends, but also show different trends for some species, including pigeon guillemots (declined 55% in the PSAMP survey, increased 60% in the WWU survey). These discrepancies underscore the niche that PSSS – the only shore-based, multi-month survey of seabirds in central and south Puget Sound – is uniquely capable of filling. The goal of the Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is to develop long-term, baseline, shore-based, density estimates for seabirds in Puget Sound. Over 80 sites in six coastal counties are visited by nearly ninety citizen scientists trained on a sophisticated protocol which utilizes distance sampling which addresses issues of detectability and allows inference to be made about species' abundance. Through partnerships with agencies and universities, PSSS data can be used in a variety of ways, including the ability to identify areas of stress and associated avian response, as well as the potential for identifying their responses when stressors are reduced. PSSS temporal data on seabird species presence by survey site are already being used by the WDFW Oil Spill team. A study was initiated in 2011 to quantitatively evaluate the degree of variation between citizen science observers in the PSSS program in species identification, counts of abundance of observed species, and distance estimates. With this information Seattle Audubon will better understand the strengths and limitations of the PSSS dataset, a prudent step before sharing with agencies and individuals leading research on Puget Sound. In 2013, a 12 month project was implemented that expands the PSSS geographically west to Cape Flattery and north to Deception Pass with additional training provided to the volunteer surveyors that prepares them to conduct oil surveys in the event of an oil spill. The project will produce baseline avian diversity and abundance data throughout the target geographic area which will aid in resource allocation in the event of a catastrophic spill.