Alaska Science Center
A seabird monitoring program for the North Pacific
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Product Type: Symposia or Proceedings
Authors: Hatch, S. A., G. W. Kaiser, A. Y. Kondratyev, and G. V. Byrd
Seabird monitoring is the accumulation of time series data on any aspect of seabird distribution, abundance, demography, or behavior. Typical studies include annual or less frequent measures of numbers or productivity; less commonly, the focus is on marine habitat use, phenology, food habits, or survival. The key requirement is that observations are replicated over time and made with sufficient precision and accuracy to permit the meaningful analysis of variability and trends. Along the Pacific coast of North America, seabird monitoring has consumed substantial amounts of public funding since the early 1970s. The effort has been largely uncoordinated among the many entities involved, including provincial, state, and federal agencies, some private organizations, university faculty, and students. We reaffirm the rationale for monitoring seabirds, review briefly the nature and accomplishments of the existing effort, and suggest actions needed to improve the effectiveness of seabird monitoring in the Pacific. In particular, we propose and describe a comprehensive Seabird Monitoring Database designed specifically to work with observations on seabird population parameters that are replicated over time.