Seabird Research - Alcids
2-day old Ancient Murrelet

From 1997-2002 I studied ancient murrelets (Synthliboramphus antiquus) and other seabirds breeding in a remote location on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), BC.  Working for the Laskeek Bay Conservation Society as naturalist, biologist or camp manager, I developed research priorities, maintained long-term datasets for nesting seabirds and cavity nesters, banded breeding songbirds, inventoried and mapped endemic plants, surveyed for marine mammals, and measured the effects of introduced species on the island ecosystem.

With Dr. Tony Gaston from Environment Canada, I examined the effects of ocean variability on the breeding of ancient murrelets.  For five years, we assessed adult annual survival rates, annual chick production and timing of breeding.

In 1994 and 2006, I had the pleasure of studying alcids on Triangle Island, BC where the largest population of Cassin’s Auklets (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) in the world live.  In collaboration with other scientists on the island, I measured chick growth rates, assessed burrow occupancy, banded 1,000s of rhinoceros (Cerorhinca monocerata) and Cassin’s auklets, and explored at-sea foraging behaviours of the tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata).

From 1999-2002, I studied the incidental take of alcids and other seabirds in commercial gillnet fisheries in British Columbia. In a collaborative project with Canadian Wildlife Service, Archipelago Marine Research and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, I used at-sea observer data, fisheries logbooks, interviews, spatial models and a salvaged bird program to assess the bycatch levels and demographic patterns in coastal gillnet fisheries.

These alcid studies have been published in Canadian Journal of Zoology, Bioscience, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Technical Reports, National Plan of Action – Seabirds, Laskeek Bay Conservation Society Technical Reports, Canadian Wildlife Service reports and presented at conferences in Canada and USA.

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