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Project Information

Title: LTM Program –PWS Marine Bird Population Trends

Project Year and Number: 2017: 17120114-M

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Kathy Kuletz

Assisting Personnel: None

Research Location:

Restoration Category:

Injured Resources Addressed: Not Specified

Abstract: We propose to conduct small boat-based surveys to monitor abundance of marine birds in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska, during July 2018 and July 2020. Historical data include fourteen surveys spanning 1989 to 2014 (a fifteenth survey will be conducted in July 2016) and have been used to monitor population trends for marine birds in PWS following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS). Continued long-term monitoring of marine birds in PWS and synthesis of the data are needed to determine recovery of marine bird populations injured by the spill, as well as evaluate the possible effects of climate variability and climate change on these populations. Data collected from 1989 to 2014 indicated that pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba) and Brachyramphus murrelets had declined in the oiled areas of PWS. Furthermore, declines were observed of offshore-associated plantivorous and piscivorous genera of marine birds suggesting that changes have likely occurred in the pelagic food webs of PWS. Continuation of boat-based marine bird surveys in PWS will (i) build upon an important data set for long-term monitoring of population recovery of marine bird species following the EVOS, and (ii) provide managers and researchers with a tool to track impacts of climate variability and climate change on important groups of marine predators. Marine bird surveys compliment the benthic monitoring and forage fish monitoring aspects (including Middleton Island proposed project) of the Long-term Monitoring Project by providing a population trend index useful for interpreting marine ecosystem patterns observed in PWS.

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Proposal: View PDF (651 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2017

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2017

Annual Report: 2017: Due 09/01/2017

Final Report: Draft Final Report Due 4/15/18

Publications from this Project: None Available