Abstract Title

Session S-05D: Marine Birds and Mammals of the Salish Sea: Identifying Patterns and Causes of Change - II

Keywords

Species and Food Webs

Location

Room 611-612

Start Date

1-5-2014 10:30 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 12:00 PM

Description

The Marbled Murrelet, Brachyramphus marmoratus, is a federally listed alcid that forages in nearshore waters of the Pacific Northwest, and nests in adjacent older-forest conifers within 40-80 km of shore. To estimate abundance and distribution of murrelets, we conduct at-sea surveys from May to July each year, starting in 2000 and continuing to present. We record numbers of individuals sighted by using distance-based transects and compute annual estimates of density after adjusting for detectability. At-sea transects are subdivided into 5-km segments, and we summarized mean and variance of density at each segment in Puget Sound and along the coast from the Canadian border South to San Francisco Bay. We used a boosted regression tree analysis to investigate the contributions of marine and terrestrial attributes on murrelet abundance in each segment. We observed that terrestrial attributes, especially the amount and pattern of suitable nesting habitat in proximity to each segment, made the strongest contribution, but that marine attributes also helped explain variation in murrelet abundance. Hotspots of murrelet abundance therefore reflect not only suitable marine foraging habitat but proximity of suitable inland nesting habitat.

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May 1st, 10:30 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

Spatio-temporal dynamics of Marbled Murrelet hotspots during nesting in nearshore waters along the Washington to California coast

Room 611-612

The Marbled Murrelet, Brachyramphus marmoratus, is a federally listed alcid that forages in nearshore waters of the Pacific Northwest, and nests in adjacent older-forest conifers within 40-80 km of shore. To estimate abundance and distribution of murrelets, we conduct at-sea surveys from May to July each year, starting in 2000 and continuing to present. We record numbers of individuals sighted by using distance-based transects and compute annual estimates of density after adjusting for detectability. At-sea transects are subdivided into 5-km segments, and we summarized mean and variance of density at each segment in Puget Sound and along the coast from the Canadian border South to San Francisco Bay. We used a boosted regression tree analysis to investigate the contributions of marine and terrestrial attributes on murrelet abundance in each segment. We observed that terrestrial attributes, especially the amount and pattern of suitable nesting habitat in proximity to each segment, made the strongest contribution, but that marine attributes also helped explain variation in murrelet abundance. Hotspots of murrelet abundance therefore reflect not only suitable marine foraging habitat but proximity of suitable inland nesting habitat.