MPAs can benefit seabird populations both directly and indirectly. Direct benefits include

  1. reduced disturbance to breeding and roosting sites
  2. and decreased human interaction (e.g., bycatch, light attraction, gear entanglement) at feeding sites.

Indirect benefits include

  1. reduced competition with humans for food resources
  2. and greater prey supplies resulting from increased prey production.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Point Blue Conservation Science have partnered on this project to expand existing seabird monitoring programs. The overarching goal of this study is to determine how seabirds are using coastal habitats inside and outside of newly established MPAs within the North Central Coast Study Region. The results of this study will provide a baseline to aid in future adaptive management of north central coast MPAs. The study will determine if newly established MPAs provide adequate protection to seabird populations and, if not, where efforts can be made to provide additional protection. Pelagic Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Western Gulls, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, and Common Murres are focal species of the study. They have been selected for

  1. their dependence on nearshore habitats
  2. and their susceptibility to human disturbances.

Monitoring efforts examine foraging in nearshore habitats, breeding population size and productivity, and disturbance at breeding and roosting sites.

Project leaders

Dan Robinette / Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)
Gerry McChesney / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Project collaborators

Corey Shake / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & Humboldt State University
Jaime Jahncke / Point Blue Conservation Science
Julie Howar / Point Blue Conservation Science
Allison Fuller / Humboldt State University/US Fish and Wildlife Service
Richard T. Golightly / Humboldt State University