Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

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An aerial census of Antipodean Albatrosses on Disappointment Island reveals 453 breeding pairs

An aerial census by helicopter in January 2014 has revealed that Disappointment Island in New Zealand’s Auckland Islands supported 452 breeding pairs of Gibson’s Antipodean Albatrosses Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni.

Disappointment Island, photograph by Barry Baker

Gibson's Antipodean Albatross on the Auckland Islands

Photograph by Colin O'Donnell

The photographic survey was undertaken on behalf of the New Zealand Department of Conservation by Latitude 42, an environmental consultancy based in Tasmania.

Click here to read of helicopter-bourne aerial censuses of another species of great albatross, the Wandering D. exulans of South Africa's uninhabited Prince Edward Island. 

Reference:

Baker, G.B. & Jensz, K. 2014.  Gibson’s albatross at Disappointment Island - analysis of aerial photographs. Report prepared for Department of Conservation.   [Kettering]: Latitude 42 Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd.   7 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 11 June 2014

Keeping busy in bed: Laysan Albatrosses turn their eggs often

Scott Shaffer (Department of Biological Sciences, San José State University, San Jose, California, USA) and colleagues write in the open-access electronic journal PLoS ONE use miniature loggers in artificial eggs to investigate egg-turning in Laysan Albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis and two other seabird species.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Egg turning is unique to birds and critical for embryonic development in most avian species.  Technology that can measure changes in egg orientation and temperature at fine temporal scales (1 Hz) was neither readily available nor small enough to fit into artificial eggs until recently.  Here we show the utility of novel miniature data loggers equipped with 3-axis (i.e., triaxial) accelerometers, magnetometers, and a temperature thermistor to study egg turning behavior in free-ranging birds.  Artificial eggs containing egg loggers were deployed in the nests of three seabird species for 1–7 days of continuous monitoring.  These species (1) turned their eggs more frequently (up to 6.5 turns h−1) than previously reported for other species, but angular changes were often small (1–10° most common), (2) displayed similar mean turning rates (ca. 2 turns h−1) despite major differences in reproductive ecology, and (3) demonstrated distinct diurnal cycling in egg temperatures that varied between 1.4 and 2.4°C.  These novel egg loggers revealed high-resolution, three-dimensional egg turning behavior heretofore never measured in wild birds.  This new form of biotechnology has broad applicability for addressing fundamental questions in avian breeding ecology, life history, and development, and can be used as a tool to monitor birds that are sensitive to disturbance while breeding.”

A Laysan Albatross pair changes over incubation duties

Photograph by Bob Waid

Reference:

Shaffer, S.A., Clatterbuck, C.A., Kelsey, E.C., Naiman, A.D., Young, L.C., Vanderwerf, E.A., Warzybok, P., Bradley, R., Jahncke, J. & Bower, G.C. 2014.  As the egg turns: monitoring egg attendance behavior in wild birds using novel data logging technology.  PLoS ONE 9(6): e97898.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097898.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 10 June 2014

Albatrosses, petrels and bycatch mitigation to get their stories told at SAMSS15 in South Africa next month

The 15th South African Marine Science Symposium (SAMSS15) will be held in the Konservatorium Building, Department of Music, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa over 15-18 July 2014 with the overall theme ‘Waves of Change – a Southern African Perspective’.

A Special Session entitled ‘Seabird Science and Conservation in Southern Africa’ will be held at SAMSS15.  Accepted papers dealing with aspects of procellariiform seabirds are listed below.

Daniel Danckwerts: The trophic ecology of the Endangered endemic Barau’s Petrel (Pterodroma baraui) at Réunion Island, South-western Indian Ocean

Bokamaso Lebepe: Hook Pods: silver lining for seabirds in pelagic longline fisheries

Bronwyn Maree: Significant reductions in mortality of threatened seabirds in a South Africa trawl fishery

Dominic Rollinson: Diving behaviour of White-chinned Petrels and its relevance for mitigating longline bycatch

Stefan Schoombie: Breeding success and foraging ecology of Sooty and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses on Marion Island

Ross Wanless: Tracking changes for managing tuna longline bycatch on the high seas

A Light-mantled Sooty Albatross guards its chick

Photograph by Rowan Treblico

With thanks to Ross Wanless for information

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 9 June 2014

Working to protect Mexico’s Critically Endangered Townsend’s Shearwaters from artificial lighting at their only breeding locality

The Critically Endangered Townsend´s Shearwater Puffinus auricularis is currently known to breed only on 132-km² Socorro Island in Mexico’s Revillagigedo Archipelago (click here).

A project by Dr. Juan Martínez of Mexico’s Instituto de Ecología, A.C. is aiming to replace street lights on Socorro to reduce light attraction and associated deaths due to collisions when Townsend’s Shearwaters are blinded.  The benefits of this change will be assessed by continuing ongoing long-term monitoring based on direct observations and automated recording.  In addition to replacing the lamps the project will collaborate with the Mexican Navy to retrieve and save shearwaters landing at its base on the island (click here).

A fledgling Townsend's Shearwater, photograph by Juan Martínez

The project is being part-funded by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and supported by the Mexican Navy’s Corps of Engineers, who will provide transport and erect the new lights – work which has already commenced.

Click here for an earlier report in ACAP Latest News on changing artificial lighting to protect breeding and fledging shearwaters and petrels.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 06 June 2014

Two French colour-banded White-chinned Petrels reported killed by fishing vessels off Namibia

Bronwyn Currie of the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources reports a banded White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis killed by a longliner on 14 May this year at 22° 51’S; 13° 04’E off Walvis Bay, Namibia.   The bird carried a French metal band DZ 25706 along with black-on-yellow colour band 212.  The bird was banded on 29 November 2013 as a breeding adult with a chick on Île Haute, Golfe de Morbihan, Îles Kerguelen.

White-chinned Petrels fall victim to a Namibian longliner

Photograph by John Paterson

An earlier record is of banded White-chinned Petrel DZ 21644 killed in a hake trawl on 11 August 2008 in Namibian waters at 28° 21’S; 14° 33’E.  Then fisheries observer onboard kept the head and the banded leg for identification purposes showing that the bird was banded as a chick on 15 March 2007 on Île de la Possession, Îles Crozet.

 

DZ 21644

Click here to access earlier reports in ACAP Latest News of fisheries-induced mortality of ACAP-listed seabirds, including of banded individuals, in Namibian waters.

With thanks to Kolette Grobler, Jean-Paul Roux, Franck Theron and Henri Weimerskirch for information.

Selected Literature:

Péron, C., Delord, K., Phillips, R.A., Charbonnier, Y., Marteau, C., Louzao, M. & Weimerskirch, H. 2010.  Seasonal variation in oceanographic habitat and behaviour of White-chinned Petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis from Kerguelen Island.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 416: 267-284.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 06 June 2014

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