ACAP Latest News

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.

Contact the ACAP Communications Advisor if you wish to have your news featured.

Saving species: eradicating invasive rats and cats on islands will prevent future losses of threatened vertebrates

Eight of every ten species extinctions has occurred on islands, and invasive mammals are the leading reason for those losses.  Currently, 40 percent of species at risk of global extinction are island inhabitants.

Erin McCreless (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California Santa Cruz, California, USA) and colleagues have published in the open-access online journal Nature Communications on the effects of invasive mammalian predators on island vertebrate populations (of which seabirds often form an important component).

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Invasive mammals on islands pose severe, ongoing threats to global biodiversity.  However, the severity of threats from different mammals, and the role of interacting biotic and abiotic factors in driving extinctions, remain poorly understood at a global scale.  Here we model global extirpation patterns for island populations of threatened and extinct vertebrates.  Extirpations are driven by interacting factors including invasive rats, cats, pigs, mustelids and mongooses, native species taxonomic class and volancy, island size, precipitation and human presence.  We show that controlling or eradicating the relevant invasive mammals could prevent 41–75% of predicted future extirpations.  The magnitude of benefits varies across species and environments; for example, managing invasive mammals on small, dry islands could halve the extirpation risk for highly threatened birds and mammals, while doing so on large, wet islands may have little benefit.  Our results provide quantitative estimates of conservation benefits and, when combined with costs in a return-on-investment framework, can guide efficient conservation strategies.”


Tristan Albatross chick under attack from introduced House Mice, photograph by Ross Wanless

See also a news report on the paper.


McCreless, E.E., Huff, D.D., Croll, D.A. Tershy, B.R., Spatz, D.R., Holmes, N.D., Butchart, S.H.M. & Wilcox, C.  2016.  Past and estimated future impact of invasive alien mammals on insular threatened vertebrate populations.  Nature Communications 7: 12488 DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS12488.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 August 2016

Request for quotation: translation and conference interpretation service required for ACAP

A quotation is sought for the provision of translation and conference interpretation services for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) Secretariat.

Two Light-mantled Sooty Albatrsses fly in unison, photograph by Aleks Terauds

The lowest quote will not necessarily be accepted.  Account will also be taken of a supplier’s proven ability to provide a high-quality service and to meet agreed deadlines.  Accordingly, information you provide in relation to these aspects will also be considered.

Quotations must be submitted prior to close of business (Hobart time, GMT +10) on Monday, 12 September 2016 to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  A detailed specification and quotation form for the work to be undertaken is available here.

Marco Favero, ACAP Executive Secretary, 23 August 2016

Grey Petrels can dive to 22 metres: significance for longline bycatch mitigation

Dominic Rollinson (Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa) and colleagues have published in the journal Emu Austral Ornithology on diving behaviour of ACAP-listed and Near Threatened Grey Petrels Procellaria cinerea breeding at Gough Island.

The paper’s abstract follows:

The Grey Petrel (Procellaria cinerea) is listed as Near Threatened globally owing to incidental mortality on long-line fishing gear and reduced breeding success on islands caused by the introduction of alien predators.  However, there are few studies of its foraging ecology and none of its diving behaviour.  We obtained data from temperature–depth recorders (n = 7 birds) and global positioning satellite trackers (n = 15) deployed on Grey Petrels breeding on Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean.  Most birds foraged in the productive oceanic waters west or north-west of South Georgia.  Average maximum dive-depth was 3.2 ± 2.2 m with most dives <5 m (85%) and 95% of dives <7 m deep.  The maximum dive-depth (22 m) was deeper than previous measurements of dive-depth inProcellaria petrels, and maximum dive-duration also was longer than previously recorded inProcellaria petrels (at least 39 s). Individuals varied greatly in the mean number of dives per day (range 0.4–24.5).  Sex did not influence depth or duration of dives but sample sizes were small.  The time of day influenced dive-depth, and dives during daylight were, on average, deeper than dives at night, but the effect was weak; the maximum dive-depth at night was 17 m.  By providing insights into the diving behaviour of Grey Petrels our findings help to explain their high mortality on fishing long-lines.  We suggest that fisheries adopt bird-scaring lines that protect long-lines from scavenging seabirds during the setting process to a depth of at least 10 m, which could be achieved by increasing line-weighting or modifying bird-scaring lines, or both.  An understanding of the foraging ecology of commonly recorded by-catch species, such as Grey Petrels, is essential in the design of future devices to mitigate seabird by-catch in long-line fisheries.

Grey Petrel, photograph by Peter Ryan

With thanks to Barry Baker.


Rollinson, D.P., Dilley, B.J., Davies, D. & Ryan, P.G. 2016.  Diving behaviour of Grey Petrels and its relevance for mitigating long-line by-catch.  Emu

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 August 2016

The Seabird Group will hear talks on albatrosses and petrels next month in Edinburgh at its 13th Conference

The Seabird Group will hold its 13th International Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland over 6-9 September 2016.  Titles and authors of talks and posters are now available on line.

Great-headed Albatross, photograph by Mickey Reeves

A list of presentations (plenaries, orals and posters) dealing with aspects of the biology and conservation of procellariiform birds follows.

Tony Martin:  Invasive alien species on seabird islands: problems and solutions

Rob Thomas:  A Long-Term Study of Migrating European Storm Petrels

Ingrid Pollet:  What factors influence breeding success of Leach's Storm-Petrels?

Nicky McArthur:  A New Zealand conservation story of a globally unique seabird, Kaikoura’s Titi, the Hutton’s shearwater

Steffen Oppel:  Using globally threatened pelagic birds to identify priority sites for marine conservation in the South Atlantic Ocean

Paulo Catry: Dancing in the moonlight: effects of light regime on seabird activity patterns

Nina Dehnhard:  Soaring with the wind?  Foraging behaviour of sympatric Antarctic fulmarine petrels in East Antarctica in relation to habitat characteristics

Agnes Olin:  Effects of changing environmental conditions and intrinsic variation on the breeding success of northern fulmars

Deborah Pardo:  Demographic buffering in declining populations: can pre and non-breeders save the greyheaded albatross?

Dimas Gianuca:  Influence of allochrony on the population trajectories of northern and southern giant petrels

Matt Wood:  Climatic variation and demography of Manx shearwaters in the Irish Sea

Saskia Wischnewski:  Exceptionally large foraging ranges in provisioning Manx Shearwaters (Puffinus puffinus): A triple foraging strategy facilitated by environmental variables?

Martin Berg:  Have ecosystem changes altered the trophic niche of the fluttering shearwater (Puffinus gavia)? - A 134-year stable isotope record from feathers and prey collected in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand

Bernard Cadiou:  New data about the secret life of the wandering prebreeding European storm petrels at colonies

Dimas Gianuca:  Comparative trials of Lumo Leads and traditional line weighting in the Brazilian pelagic longline fishery

Dilek Sahin:  High migration counts in Turkey suggest the existance [sic] of undiscovered colonies of the Yelkouan shearwater

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 August 2016

Cory’s and Scopoli’s Shearwaters in the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem

James Grecian (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK) and colleagues have published in the open-access online journal Biology Letters on the presence of Cory’s Calonectris borealis and Scopoli’s C. diomedea Shearwaters and other seabirds within the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Upwelling regions are highly productive habitats targeted by wide-ranging marine predators and industrial fisheries. In this study, we track the migratory movements of eight seabird species from across the Atlantic; quantify overlap with the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) and determine the habitat characteristics that drive this association.  Our results indicate the CCLME is a biodiversity hotspot for migratory seabirds; all tracked species and more than 70% of individuals used this upwelling region.  Relative species richness peaked in areas where sea surface temperature averaged between 15 and 20°C, and correlated positively with chlorophyll a, revealing the optimum conditions driving bottom-up trophic effects for seabirds.  Marine vertebrates are not confined by international boundaries, making conservation challenging.  However, by linking diversity to ocean productivity, our research reveals the significance of the CCLME for seabird populations from across the Atlantic, making it a priority for conservation action.”


Scopoli's Shearwater, photograph by 'Pep' Arcos

With thanks to Richard Phillips.


Grecian, W.J., Witt , M.J. Attrill, M.J., Bearhop, S., Becker, P.H., Egevang, C., Furness, R.W., Godley, B.J., González-Solís, J., Grémillet, D., Kopp, M., Lescroe, A., Matthiopoulos, J., Patrick, S.C., Peter, H.-U., Phillips, R.A., Stenhouse, I. & Votier, S.C. 2016.  Seabird diversity hotspot linked to ocean productivity in the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem.  Biology Letters 12: 20160024.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 18 August 2016

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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