Presentation Abstract

Baseline information on marine distribution and abundance of marine birds and their prey populations is needed to evaluate current status in relation to threats from potential increases in tanker traffic near Southern Vancouver Island. We conducted year round (bi-trimonthly) boat-based, at-sea surveys between Sidney BC and Victoria BC from November 2015 - November 2019 to examine seasonal variation during the year and between years. Our study area includes parts of the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area, the Shoal Harbour and Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and the Chain Islets Ecological Reserve, which are all close to major shipping lanes. With the approval for the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline to Burnaby, tanker traffic is expected to increase seven fold in our study area. Additional increases in shipping in the Salish Sea are also expected from the expansion of Liquefied Natural Gas projects and the Delta Port expansion on Roberts Bank. We counted all marine birds but focus the talk on primarily on alcids, Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata), Common Murre (Uria aalgae), Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba), Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), and Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus). We highlight areas where one important forage fish species, Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus) subtidal burying habitat was confirmed by grab sampling, primarily in the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area. The sand lance population in the subtidal habitat in the area is vital for upper trophic level predators and is also at risk from increased shipping activities. Current research is evaluating forage fish hot-spots with respect to burying habitats and marine bird distributions.

Session Title

Trophic energy flow in the Salish Sea: Part III (Marine Birds)

Conference Track

Trophic Interactions - Zooplankton, Phytoplankton, Salmon, Forage Fish & Invasive Species

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2020 : Online)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

2020_abstractID_5618

Start Date

21-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

22-4-2020 4:45 PM

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Language

English

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 22nd, 4:45 PM

A baseline of seasonal changes in the at sea distribution and abundance of marine birds near shipping lanes around southern Vancouver Island.

Baseline information on marine distribution and abundance of marine birds and their prey populations is needed to evaluate current status in relation to threats from potential increases in tanker traffic near Southern Vancouver Island. We conducted year round (bi-trimonthly) boat-based, at-sea surveys between Sidney BC and Victoria BC from November 2015 - November 2019 to examine seasonal variation during the year and between years. Our study area includes parts of the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area, the Shoal Harbour and Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and the Chain Islets Ecological Reserve, which are all close to major shipping lanes. With the approval for the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline to Burnaby, tanker traffic is expected to increase seven fold in our study area. Additional increases in shipping in the Salish Sea are also expected from the expansion of Liquefied Natural Gas projects and the Delta Port expansion on Roberts Bank. We counted all marine birds but focus the talk on primarily on alcids, Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata), Common Murre (Uria aalgae), Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba), Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), and Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus). We highlight areas where one important forage fish species, Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus) subtidal burying habitat was confirmed by grab sampling, primarily in the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area. The sand lance population in the subtidal habitat in the area is vital for upper trophic level predators and is also at risk from increased shipping activities. Current research is evaluating forage fish hot-spots with respect to burying habitats and marine bird distributions.