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Using beached bird data to assess seabird oiling susceptibility

TitleUsing beached bird data to assess seabird oiling susceptibility
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsWaugh JK
Secondary AuthorsJones T, Parrish JK
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Start Page11347
Date Published03/2022
Type of ArticleResearch

Oil spills can cause severe impacts on seabirds, the extent of which varies by species. We investigated taxon-specific susceptibility using data from the Nestucca and Tenyo Maru oil spills in the northeast Pacific together with seasonally and spatially overlapping baseline beached bird abundance data collected over a 17-year time-period. Multivariate analyses revealed patterns of variation between spill and non-spill data, primarily driven by differences in the relative abundance of common murres (Uria aalge) and northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis). In subsequent susceptibility analyses, alcid (Alcidae spp.) carcasses were generally overrepresented in spill data, while gulls (Larus spp.), tubenoses (Procellariformes spp.), and cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae spp.) were generally under-represented. We found that the baseline data had high variability, suggesting a need for many years of baseline data. We propose that where appropriate baseline data exists, this method can be employed to investigate the seabirds most vulnerable to oiling.

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