link to AFSC home page

link to AFSC home page link to NMFS home page link to NOAA home page

Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division

AFSC Quarterly
Research Reports
April-May-June 2007
ABL Reports
FMA Reports
NMML Reports
RACE Reports
REFM Reports
Quarterly Index
Quarterly Home

Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling (REEM) Program

Seabird Interactions

figure 3. ivory gull
Figure 3.  Ivory gull.

During 3-29 May, REEM scientist Shannon Fitzgerald participated in the National Marine Mammal Laboratory’s (NMML) Ice Seal Cruise aboard the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson as a seabird observer (see NMML’s Polar Ecosystems Program report). This work is part of a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Migratory Birds Management in Anchorage, Alaska.

Seabird observations were conducted while the ship was in transit from Kodiak to the pack ice north of the Pribilof Islands during morning and evening transects to and from the ice edge as the ship worked westward and northward along the pack-ice edge and during the transit back to Dutch Harbor from northwest of St. Matthew Island. Some sighting transects were also completed during ice seal sighting efforts conducted by NMML staff.

The AFSC is coordinating closely with Dr. Kathy Kuletz and Dr. David Irons of the Migratory Birds Office to support seabird research on AFSC-led research cruises. This was the first time seabird sighting transects had been conducted on the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson. The cruise was led by NMML and focused on ice seals in the Bering Sea pack ice. This is an important environment for birds as well, and used extensively by northern fulmars, common and thick-billed murres, least and crested auklets, glaucous gulls, and other species. A highlight of the trip was the sighting of an adult and juvenile ivory gull
(Fig. 3 above).

  figure 4. short-tailed albatross
Figure 4.  Short-tailed albatross.

The second quarter was also an important time to again conduct the point count or stationary seabird sighting surveys from other platforms, such as NMFS charter groundfish cruises. Materials were prepped for deployment and new staff trained to carry out the seabird surveys. Training was also provided to the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s West Coast groundfish team so that our collaborative work between the two Centers could continue.

Of special interest are short-tailed albatross sightings. Our seabird sighting protocols require that birds be noted only when they occur within a specific area. However, we are very interested in all sightings of the endangered short-tailed albatross. The groundfish team on the research charter vessel Vesteraalen was very excited to report daily observations of short-tailed albatross between the Islands of the Four Mountains and Unimak Pass
(Fig. 4).

These observations were also recorded and forwarded to Greg Balogh of the USFWS Ecological Services Branch, Alaska, and entered in a database.

By Shannon Fitzgerald

<<< previous

next >>>

            Home | FOIA | Privacy | | Accessibility      doc logo