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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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Another opportunity to work with southern albatrosses and petrels: this time on Australia’s Macquarie Island

Status and Trends of Macquarie Island Albatrosses and Giant Petrels: Management and Conservation of Threatened Seabirds

The Tasmanian Wildlife Management Branch (DPIPWE) is seeking expressions of interest from personnel interested in being considered to undertake the role of field assistant for the Macquarie Island Albatross and Petrel Program during the 2016-17 summer period.  Potential participants are requested to submit expressions of interest which address criteria which are essential to the role.  The successful person shall be required to be available to travel to Macquarie Island between October 2016 and April 2017 (approximate dates, depending upon Australian Antarctic Division shipping schedule) and also to pass Australian Antarctic Division medical clearance, which include both physical and psychological testing components, as well as undertake mandatory pre-departure field training.

Mac Wanderers courting Petrel Peak 2 Kate Lawrence s

Wandering Albatrosses court below Petrel Peak on Macquarie Island, photograph by Kate Lawrence

This long-term seabird conservation programme has been running for over 20 years, collecting important breeding and demographic data for the four species of ACAP-listed albatrosses and two species of giant petrels that breed on Macquarie Island.  A team of two field staff is required to be deployed to Macquarie Island for up to six months. The team is largely based in remote area field huts with limited facilities.  Huts will also be shared with staff from other programmes.  The terrain is rugged, the weather is challenging and heavy packs are required to be carried when in the field.  A high level of physical fitness is required prior to the beginning of the season.  Programme data are also required to be collected and entered into databases, and a comprehensive report prepared at the end of the field season (May 2017).  This is a volunteer position, however, all costs associated with the programme, including travel and medical checks, will be met. Preference will be given to applicants who indicate a preparedness to undertake two consecutive field seasons.  Continuation of the applicant in the second season is contingent upon performance in the first season and future programme planning and logistics.  As such, continued involvement in the field programme for a second season will be reviewed at the end of May 2017.

Applicants should have relevant tertiary qualifications (or equivalent).  The deadline for applications is 20 June 2016.

Read more here on candidate requirements and how to apply.

Click here for regular postings of other employment opportunities with ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels.

With thanks to Rachael Alderman for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 30 May 2016

France proposes its sub-Antarctic Islands for the World Heritage Tentative List

Eight Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom islands and island groups in the Southern Ocean are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (click here). News is now in that France may be adding to this total in time, as it has placed its four sub-Antarctic island groups that form the National Nature Reserve of French Southern Territories (La réserve naturelle nationale des Terres australes françaisesin the southern Indian Ocean onto its tentative list, a required precursor to making a formal nomination to the World Heritage Convention. The islands are already RAMSAR Wetlands of International Importance, declared in 2008 (click here).

In addition, the French Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (TAAF) is currently engaged in registering its sub-Antarctic national nature reserve (comprising Amsterdam, Crozets (except Possession), parts of Kerguelen and St Paul that was created in 2006) with the Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with an evaluation process set for September this year.

 Amsterdam Island, only home of the Amsterdam Albatross, photograph from Thierry Micol

Amsterdam Albatross, photograph by Scott Shafer

The original TAAF news release in French follows:

“La réserve naturelle nationale des Terres australes françaises candidate à l’UNESCO

La réserve naturelle nationale des Terres australes françaises engage la procédure de classement au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO et à la liste verte de l’UICN.

Cette réserve, reconnue au niveau national, œuvre pour la connaissance et la conservation du patrimoine naturel des îles subantarctiques françaises depuis maintenant 10 ans.

Afin d’étendre sa reconnaissance et sa notoriété à l’échelle mondiale, la collectivité des TAAF s’engage en faveur de son inscription au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO. Dans cette perspective, la réserve vient d’adresser sa candidature à la liste indicative des biens naturels, justifiant d’une valeur universelle exceptionnelle, au Comité du patrimoine mondial.

En parallèle, les TAAF se sont engagées dans un processus d’inscription de la réserve à la liste verte de l’Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature (UICN), une nouvelle certification à l’échelle mondiale portant sur la gestion efficace et la gouvernance équitable des aires protégées.

Dans ce cadre, l’UICN France évaluera d’ici le mois de septembre le modèle de gestion de la réserve des Terres australes françaises.”

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 May 2016

SCAR’s Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals holds a tracking workshop in Germany

The Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals (EGBAMM) of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) held a tracking workshop in Delmenhorst , Germany last month.  Five species of ACAP-listed albatrosses that breed at islands in the Southern Ocean were among the 15 seabird and marine mammal species considered at the workshop.

A news release by EGBAMM on the workshop follows:

“A recent meeting in Delmenhorst, Germany brought together a team of scientists specialising in tracking of Antarctic marine mammals and birds.  The Southern Ocean is a remote, hostile environment where conducing marine biology is challenging, so we know relatively little about this important region, which is critical as a habitat for breeding and foraging of many marine endotherms.  But this team use[s] animals to help them find Areas of Ecological Significance – or biological hotspots in the Southern Ocean.  Scientists from around the world have been tracking seals, penguins, whales and albatrosses for more than two decades to learn how they spend their time at sea.  In the Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data (RAATD), this team has brought together tracking data from 38 biologists from 11 different countries to accumulate the largest animal-tracking database in the world, containing information from 15 species, containing over 3400 individual animals and almost 2.5 million at-sea locations.  Analysing a dataset of this size brings its own challenges and the team is developing new and innovative statistical approaches to integrate these complex data.  The meeting in Delmenhorst enabled the RAATD team to complete the daunting task of compiling and checking this enormous dataset, and to develop and run the statistical models that will lead to the identification of the hotspots.  When complete RAATD will provide a greater understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes in the Southern Ocean, help predict the future of top predator distribution and help with spatial management planning.”


Sooty Albatross, one of the tracked albatross species reviewed, photograph by Kirk Zufelt

With thanks to Yan Ropert-Coudert, SCAR-EGBAMM Secretary for information, who reports to ACAP “RAATD's future workshops are already a certainty as the working group of RAATD has secured a French-based grant to fund two workshops a year for the next 2.5 years.”


Anon. [2016].  Report on the Second SCAR Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data Workshop.  18 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 26 May 2016

Contrasting movement strategies among juvenile albatrosses and petrels

Sophie de Grissac (Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, Villiers en Bois, France) and colleagues have compared the at-sea movements of juveniles of nine species of southern albatrosses and petrels - all ACAP-listed - in the online publication Scientific Reports.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Animal movement is a fundamental eco-evolutionary process yet the behaviour of juvenile animals is largely unknown for many species, especially for soaring seabirds which can range widely over the oceans at low cost.  We present an unprecedented dataset of 98 juvenile albatrosses and petrels (nine species), tracked for the first three months after independence.  There was a startling diversity within and among species in the type and scale of post-natal movement strategies, ranging from area-restricted to nomadic patterns.  Spatial scales were clustered in three groups that ranged from <3000 km to >6000 km from the natal nest.  In seven of the nine species, the orientation of flight paths and other movement statistics showed strong similarities between juveniles and adults, providing evidence for innate orientation abilities.  Our results have implications for understanding the development of foraging behaviour in naïve individuals and the evolution of life history traits such as survival, lifespan and breeding strategy.”

Amsterdam Albatross South Africa Trevior Hardaker

Amsterdam Albatross off South Africa, photograph by Trevor Hardaker


de Grissac, S., Börger, L., Guitteaud, A. & Weimerskirch, H. 2016.  Contrasting movement strategies among juvenile albatrosses and petrels. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 26103.  doi:10.1038/srep26103.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 25 May 2016

Work with Waved Albatrosses: field technicians required for the Galapagos

Three volunteer field technicians are needed from mid-October 2016 to late January 2017 for work on the breeding biology of the Critically Endangered and ACAP-listed Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata and on the Nazca Booby Sula granti on Isla Española, Galápagos, Ecuador.

A colour-banded Waved Albatross incubates its hatchng egg, photograph by Kate Huyvaert

The assistants will complete a group totalling five continuing a 33-year study of these species.  The majority of the work will be identifying banded parents at nests, marking nests and conducting daily nest monitoring, 7-9 hours per day (sometimes more) of physically taxing and fascinating work in an incredible place.  The group will live in tents at a primitive field camp on this uninhabited island, a day's boat ride from the nearest civilization.

Requirements include physical fitness, tolerance of heat and sun, cheerful can-do attitude and attention to detail.  Previous field experience required, Spanish desirable.  All expenses paid, including travel from your home base. No salary.

To apply e-mail a one-page cover letter and contact information for three references, with c.v. attached, to David Anderson and Jenny Howard of the Department of Biology, Wake Forest University at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Review of applications will begin in mid-June, although the closing date for applications is 5 July 2016 (click here).

The Waved Albatross population of Isla Española was given a high priority status for study at this month’s Ninth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee in La Serena, Chile following the recommendation of its Population and Conservation Status Working Group.

With thanks to Dave Anderson for information.


Huyvaert, K.P., Uzcátegui, G.J. & Favero, M. 2016.  Priority Population Assessment – Waved Albatross at Española Island, Galápagos, Ecuador.  Third Meeting of the Population and Conservation Status Working Group La Serena, Chile, 5 – 6 May 2016.  PaCSWG3 Doc 04. [two-page summary and recommendations].

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 May 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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