In this issue: annual subtidal dive monitoring yields early results, power to the puffins, marine science lecture by Paul Dayton, thanks to the people who make our lecture series possible, SeaDoc in the news for derelict gear recovery.
In this issue: Learning more about stranded killer whales, marine bird declines featured in the news, thank you for supporting SeaDoc at our auction, Salish Sea book is coming soon, join SeaDoc for a once-in-a-lifetime Salish Sea trip, slideshow on coastal cutthroat trout, SeaDoc presents on wildlife diseases.
From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. The reasons are often complex, but for many the loss of forage fish like herring might hold a clue.
This article was on the front page of the Seattle Times on July 25, 2014.
In this issue: United States and Canada must work harder to stop ecoystem decay. GiveBIG is Tuesday, May 6. Salish Sea Science Prize goes to the Northwest Straits Foundation for their derelict fishing gear work. Scientists need to communicate better. May is Puget Sound Starts Here Month.
An estimated 1.2 million cases of salmonellosis occur annually in the United States (approximately 42,000 are laboratory-confirmed and reported to the Centers for Disease Control; CDC). Transmission comes primarily from contaminated food, water or contact with infected animals only some of which are wild animals. Of the 50 Salmonella outbreaks reported by the CDC between 2006 and 2013, only 5 (10%) were related to wildlife. These included the 2013 outbreak related to small turtles (Salmonella Sandiego, Pomona and Poona), two 2012 events associated with hedgehogs (Salmonella Typhimurium) and small turtles (Salmonella Sandiego, Pomona and Poona), the 2011 outbreak connected to Africa dwarf frogs (Salmonella Typhimurium) and the 2010 water frog-related outbreak (Salmonella Typhimurium).
Two pilot trials and one study in a closely related grebe species suggest that Western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) will not tolerate intracoelomic transmitter implantation with percutaneous antennae and often die within days of surgery. Wild Western grebes (n = 21) were captured to evaluate a modified surgical technique. Seven birds were surgically implanted with intracoelomic transmitters with percutaneous antennae by using the modified technique (transmitter group), 7 received the same surgery without transmitter implantation (celiotomy group), and 7 served as controls (only undergoing anesthesia). Modifications included laterally offsetting the body wall incision from the skin incision, application of absorbable cyanoacrylate tissue glue to the subcutaneous space between the body wall and skin incisions, application of a waterproof sealant to the skin incision after suture closure, and application of a piece of porcine small intestine submucosa to the antenna egress. Survival did not differ among the 3 groups with 7 of 7 control, 6 of 7 celiotomy, and 6 of 7 transmitter birds surviving the 9-day study. Experimental birds were euthanized at the end of the study, and postmortem findings indicated normal healing. Significant differences in plasma chemistry or immune function were not detected among the 3 groups, and only minor differences were detected in red blood cell indices and plasma proteins. After surgery, the birds in the transmitter group spent more time preening tail feathers than those in the control and celiotomy groups. These results demonstrate that, in a captive situation, celiotomy and intracoelomic transmitter implantation caused minimal detectable homeostatic disturbance in this species and that Western grebes can survive implantation of intracoelomic transmitters with percutaneous antennae. It remains to be determined what potential this modified surgical procedure has to improve postoperative survival of Western grebes that are intracelomically implanted with transmitters with percutaneous antennae and released into the wild.
We present a prototype monitoring strategy for estimating the density and number of occupied burrows of burrow-nesting seabirds. We use data and management questions from Washington State as an example that can be applied to burrow-nesting seabirds at single- or multi-island scales. We also demonstrate how habitat assessments can be conducted concurrently. Specifically, we compared the density and occupancy of burrows of the Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) at nesting colonies in the California Current and the Salish Sea and in the 1970s, 1980s, and today. We estimated 36 152, 1546, and 6494 occupied burrows on Protection and Smith islands (Salish Sea), and Destruction Island (California Current), respectively. Our estimates for the Salish Sea are 52% greater than those from the 1970s and 1980s, while that for the California Current is 60% less than that of 1975. This suggests that the Salish Sea population has increased, despite greater human effects on that ecosystem. However, some of the estimated changes between the periods could be the result of methodological and analytical differences. To address these issues we recommend an unbiased and representative sampling approach (stratified random) and an approach for optimally allocating the samples among strata within and among islands, depending on the scale of the question being addressed. Optimally allocating the sample would save a great deal of field effort; using this approach, we achieve relatively high power (>0.80) to detect moderate changes (20%) sampling hundreds of fewer plots than in a sample not optimally allocated.
Presentamos un estrategia de monitoreo prototipo para estimar la densidad y el número de madrigueras ocupadas en aves marinas que anidan en madrigueras. Empleamos datos y preguntas de manejo del estado de Washington como un ejemplo que puede ser aplicado a diversas aves marinas que anidan en madrigueras a la escala de una isla única o de múltiples islas. También demostramos como las evaluaciones de hábitat pueden ser conducidas conjuntamente. Específicamente, comparamos la densidad y la ocupación de madrigueras de Cerorhinca monocerata en las colonias de anidación de la Corriente de California y del Mar de Salish en los años 70s, 80s y hoy. Estimamos 36 152, 1546 y 6494 madrigueras ocupadas en las islas Protección y Smith (Mar de Salish) y la isla Destrucción (Corriente de California), respectivamente. Nuestras estimaciones para el Mar de Salish son 52% mayores que aquellas de los años 70s y 80s, mientras que para la Corriente de California son 60% menos que la de 1975. Esto sugiere que la población del Mar de Salish ha incrementado, a pesar de los mayores efectos antrópicos en este ecosistema. Sin embargo, algunos de los cambios estimados entre los períodos podrán ser el resultado de diferencias metodológicas y analíticas. Para abordar estos temas, recomendamos un enfoque de muestreo no sesgado y representativo (estratificado al azar) y un enfoque para asignar óptimamente las muestras entre los estratos dentro y entre islas, dependiendo de la escala de la pregunta abordada. La asignación óptima de la muestra ahorraría un gran parte del esfuerzo de muestreo; usando este enfoque, alcanzamos un poder relativamente alto (>0.80) para detectar cambios moderados (20%), muestreando cientos de parcelas menos que en un muestreo no asignado de modo óptimo.