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July-Aug-Sept 2007
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Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling (REEM) Program

Seabird Interactions: Research Summary

The REEM Program participated in the ongoing development of the National Bycatch Report by providing information on fisheries, fishery monitoring, and related seabird bycatch for the Alaska groundfish fisheries. Staff also coordinated with the Washington Sea Grant Program (WSGP) as they completed their study to characterize the aspects of the Alaskan groundfish trawl fleet that affect seabird interactions, including an effort assessment of trawl warp and third wires. That component was done under contract to the AFSC, and fulfills a requirement under the Short-tailed Albatross Biological Opinion.

The WSGP will be publishing their report. Staff also participated in a review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) draft Conservation Action Plan for Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses. The report should help guide research and management efforts related to the conservation of seabirds for many years.

We previously reported that Dr. Ann Edwards, National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the AFSC, had successfully initiated a pilot program with the USFWS to collect feather samples during albatross colony counts on Midway Island (AFSC 2007 January-March Quarterly Report). Results from the analyses of stable isotope values in feathers from Laysan albatrosses nesting on Midway Island in 2007 confirm that the delta-15N values of birds sampled on the colony differ, on average, from values of birds salvaged from longline fisheries off Alaska and Hawaiian waters.  This paves the way for interpreting whether a fisheries- derived diet is correlated with reproductive success in Laysan albatrosses.

By Shannon Fitzgerald

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