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Research Technical Report

Changes in marine bird deposition in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 1997 - 2007

Nevins, H., J. Harvey, J. de Marignac, E. Phillips, C. Gibble, D. Jessup, and J. Ames (April 2008)

Poster presentation at the 2008 Sanctuary Currents Symposium, Seaside, CA


Natural or human-caused changes in the global marine environment may result in fluctuations in local marine productivity and impact the distribution and mortality of top predators such as seabirds and marine mammals. Since 1997, we have conducted Coastal Ocean Marine Bird and Mammal Education and Research Surveys (BeachCOMBERS) to monitor monthly changes in beached birds and mammals in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Using standardized survey methods, we have obtained baseline rates of deposition (birds km-1mo.-1) of beached birds and identified unusual mortality events. We maintain a network of scientists, researchers and resource managers to enable early detection and investigation of mortality events. Mortality events have been related to human activities (e.g. fishery bycatch, oil spills) and natural phenomena (e.g. starvation, Domoic acid events). During recent years (2005 to present), the frequency and severity of mortality events has increased. We documented changes in trends in deposition of resident species, including Common Murre (Uria aalge) and Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicullatus); and migratory species, including Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), loons (Gavia spp.), grebes (Aechmophorus spp.), and gulls (Larus spp.).

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
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