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Project Information

Title: Evaluating Harlequin Duck Population Recovery: CYP1A Monitoring and a Demographic Population Model

Project Year and Number: 2007: 070816

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Dan Esler, Simon Fraser University

Assisting Personnel: Samuel Iverson

Project Website: http://www.sfu.ca/biology/wildberg/desler/index.html

Research Location: Prince William Sound

Restoration Category: Research

Injured Resources Addressed: Harlequin Ducks

Abstract: Harlequin ducks are one of the few species defined as “not recovered” from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. In this document, we propose 2 areas of inquiry to (1) evaluate the status of population recovery, specifically the degree of exposure to lingering oil, and (2) more fully understand the demographic processes underlying population recovery, through application of a quantitative population model.

Cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) has proven to be an extremely useful tool for documenting the spatial and temporal degree of exposure to lingering oil, and there is a large body of historical CYP1A data (1998 to 2005) for harlequin ducks. The most recent data from March 2005 irrefutably demonstrated that harlequin ducks continued to be exposed to lingering oil. Because population recovery requires cessation of exposure to oil, we propose to resample harlequin ducks from throughout the oiled area of Prince William Sound, along with nearby unoiled areas, to determine whether they continue to be exposed to lingering oil.

A considerable volume of demographic data on harlequin ducks has been collected during research and monitoring efforts since the spill. We propose to assemble these data in a population model, which will be valuable for: (1) identifying the timing and magnitude of oil spill injury, (2) identifying the mechanisms by which injury occurred and population recovery was constrained, (3) evaluating the current status of recovery, including predictions for timing of full recovery, and (4) recommending future restoration activities.


Geographic Regions Prince William Sound
Species Seabirds - Sea ducks
Fields of Expertise Contaminants/Toxicology
Management & Policy
Population Biology
Technological Methods Data base management
Tissue sampling/biopsy
Toxicological Analysis
Professional Activity Data Synthesis/Visualization
Field research and Data Collection
Ecosystems Marine – Nearshore
Species Specific Research Issues Seabirds - Contaminants
Seabirds - Population structure, dynamics and modeling

Proposal: View PDF (232 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2007 , 2008

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2007 , 2008

Annual Reports: 2007: View (39 KB) 2008: View (23 KB)

Final Report: View

Publications from this Project: None Available