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.

Contact the ACAP Information Officer if you wish to have your news featured.

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The Spectacled Petrel reaches Argentinian waters

Juan Pablo Seco Pon (Grupo Vertebrados. Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina) and William Stein report in the Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia on the second photographically documented record of the ACAP-listed Spectacled Petrel  Procellaria conspicillata in Argentinian waters.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata is endemic to Inaccessible Island, in the Tristan da Cunha group (central South Atlantic).  The species is considered an occasional visitor to Argentina and there are few records of the species in national waters.  On 13 February 2014, two birds were observed (and photographed) 89 nautical miles southeast off Buenos Aires Province at 38°55'S, 56°00'W.  This record represents the second documented record of Spectacled Petrel for Argentina.”


Spectacled Petrel, photograph by Ross Wanless


Seco Pon, J.P. & Stein III, W. 2015.  A second documented record of Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata in Argentine waters.  Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 23: 29-30.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 21 June 2015

Green for go: reducing light pollution effects on ACAP-listed Pink-footed Shearwaters

Most burrowing petrels and shearwaters visit and fledge from their burrows in the hours of darkness.  Those species that breed on inhabited islands are susceptible to becoming disoriented and being downed by bright lights at night in urban areas– as has been reported regularly in ACAP Latest News (click here).

The recently ACAP-listed Pink-footed Shearwater or Fardela Blanca Puffinus [Ardenna] creatopus is deleteriously affected by light pollution at its breeding sites on Chile’s Juan Fernández Islands.  Shearwaters collide with buildings and other infrastructure on misty nights in the town of San Juan Bautista on Robinson Crusoe Island.  Downed birds are then vulnerable to domestic dogs and cats - as recently reported by Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge on its Facebook page (click here).

Pink-footed Shearwater, photograph by Peter Hodum

In 2011 street lights were changed from white to red in the town in an attempt to reduce shearwater downings.  At the end of the 2014 a new change to green lights was made, which appear more efficient in reducing collisions. It is planned to install more green lights this year.


Green lighting, photograph courtesy of Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge

Support for reducing the effects of light pollution on Pink-footed Shearwaters has come from the American Bird Conservancy, the municipality of Juan Fernandez and Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge.

Green lights have been tried in at least two other situations to reduce seabird collisions at night (click here).

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 20 June 2105

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission to consider seabird mitigation measures later this month

The 89th Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) will be held in Guayaquil, Ecuador from 29 June to 3 July 2015.

According to Document IATTC 89-04d Recommendations by the Staff for Conservation Measures in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, 2015 the “Commission should revise Resolution C-11-02 consistent with the current state of knowledge regarding seabird mitigation techniques, as described in document SAC-05 INF-E5  (prepared by ACAP and BirdLife International).  The two-column menu approach in C-11-02 should be replaced by a requirement to use at least two of the following three mitigation methods in combination: line weighting, night setting and bird-scaring lines.

Other mitigation methods should not be endorsed until their effectiveness is proven.  The three recommended mitigation measures should, at the very least, specify the minimum standards in Appendix I.  The Commission should take note of the updated seabird density information and consider expanding the area of application of measures to include additional waters in the North Pacific.”


A Laysan Albatross pair, photograph by James Lloyd

Click here to read more on the proposal submitted by the United States to the 89th IATTC Commission Meeting to revise Resolution C-11-02.

The meeting will be attended by Marco Favero, Chair, ACAP Advisory Committee.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 June 2015

Next-generation sequencing of North Pacific albatrosses

Zachery Lounsberry (Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California, USA) and colleagues have published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources on sequencing the three species of North Pacific albatrosses Phoebastria spp.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Use of complete mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) can greatly increase the resolution achievable in phylogeographic and historical demographic studies.  Using next-generation sequencing methods, it is now feasible to efficiently sequence mitogenomes of large numbers of individuals once a reference mitogenome is available.  However, assembling the initial mitogenomes of nonmodel organisms can present challenges, for example, in birds, where mtDNA is often subject to gene rearrangements and duplications.  We developed a workflow based on Illumina paired-end, whole-genome shotgun sequencing, which we used to generate complete 19-kilobase mitogenomes for each of three species of North Pacific albatross, a group of birds known to carry a tandem duplication.  Although this duplication had been described previously, our procedure did not depend on this prior knowledge, nor did it require a closely related reference mitogenome (e.g. a mammalian mitogenome was sufficient).  We employed an iterative process including de novo assembly, reference-guided assembly and gap closing, which enabled us to detect duplications, determine gene order and identify sequence for primer positioning to resolve any mitogenome ambiguity (via minimal targeted Sanger sequencing).  We present full mtDNA annotations, including 22 tRNAs, 2 rRNAs, 13 protein-coding genes, a control region and a duplicated feature for all three species.  Pairwise comparisons supported previous hypotheses regarding the phylogenetic relationships within this group and occurrence of a shared tandem duplication.  The resulting mitogenome sequences will enable rapid, high-throughput NGS mitogenome sequencing of North Pacific albatrosses via direct reference-guided assembly.  Moreover, our approach to assembling mitogenomes should be applicable to any taxon.”

All three species of North Pacific albatrosses on Kure Atoll


Lounsberry, Z.T., Brown, S.K., Collins, P.W., Henry, R.W., Newsome, S.D.& Sacks, B.N. 2015.  Next-generation sequencing workflow for assembly of nonmodel mitogenomes exemplified with North Pacific albatrosses (Phoebastria spp.).  Molecular Ecology Resources 15: 893-902.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 18 June 2015

Endoparasites in the Waved Albatross

Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui (Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador) and colleagues have published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases on the presence of endoparasites in the Critically Endangered Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata.

The paper's abstract follows:

“Using a fecal flotation technique, we detected three genera of endoparasites in the critically endangered Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) of Galápagos.  These genera were Contracaecum,Tetrabothrius, and Cardiocephaloides.  Juvenile albatrosses were more likely to be infected than adults, but we found no effect of sex or mass on infection probability.”

Waved Albatross, photograph by Ron LeValley


Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G., Soledad Sarzosa, M., Encalada, E., Sevilla, C. & Huyvaert, K.P. 2015.  Gastrointestinal Parasites in the Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) of Galápagos.  Journal of Wildlife Diseases  doi:

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 June 2015