Presentation Abstract

Marine birds are often viewed as good ecological indicators because they are relatively well studied and time-series data are often available, our understanding of their population biology is often extremely high, some species are tightly linked to their prey resources and, as upper trophic predators, they offer an integrative view of the dynamics at lower levels of the food web. In 2014, at-sea abundance and trends of the rhinoceros auklet, pigeon guillemot, marbled murrelet and scoters were collectively selected by the Puget Sound Partnership as indicators of the health of the Puget Sound marine food web. Long-term trends for these species are mixed with some species exhibiting relatively stable populations (e.g., rhinoceros auklet) and others are decreasing (e.g., marbled murrelet). In the absence of additional information, it is difficult to identify population change drivers. Fortunately, ongoing research by U.S. and Canadian academic and governmental researchers and citizen scientists (e.g., COASST, Puget Sound Seabird Survey, and Guillemot Research Group) are providing new insights into both population distributions and changes in population abundance. Specifically, these efforts have: (1) identified hotspots of species distributions, (2) evaluated the role of contamination, plastics and disease on population health, (3) evaluated the relative influence of various marine factors on population distribution and abundance, and (4) provided critical measurements of bird vital rates, measurements that are key to understanding population changes.

Session Title

Transboundary Monitoring of Marine Birds and Mammals in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Vital Sign, Marine birds, Research, Monitoring

Conference Track

SSE7: Monitoring: Species and Habitats

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE7-631

Start Date

4-4-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 1:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 1:30 PM Apr 4th, 1:45 PM

Evaluation Salish Sea marine bird Indicators with insights from recent research by professional and citizen scientists

Marine birds are often viewed as good ecological indicators because they are relatively well studied and time-series data are often available, our understanding of their population biology is often extremely high, some species are tightly linked to their prey resources and, as upper trophic predators, they offer an integrative view of the dynamics at lower levels of the food web. In 2014, at-sea abundance and trends of the rhinoceros auklet, pigeon guillemot, marbled murrelet and scoters were collectively selected by the Puget Sound Partnership as indicators of the health of the Puget Sound marine food web. Long-term trends for these species are mixed with some species exhibiting relatively stable populations (e.g., rhinoceros auklet) and others are decreasing (e.g., marbled murrelet). In the absence of additional information, it is difficult to identify population change drivers. Fortunately, ongoing research by U.S. and Canadian academic and governmental researchers and citizen scientists (e.g., COASST, Puget Sound Seabird Survey, and Guillemot Research Group) are providing new insights into both population distributions and changes in population abundance. Specifically, these efforts have: (1) identified hotspots of species distributions, (2) evaluated the role of contamination, plastics and disease on population health, (3) evaluated the relative influence of various marine factors on population distribution and abundance, and (4) provided critical measurements of bird vital rates, measurements that are key to understanding population changes.