Periodic warm-ocean episodes are known to have negative impacts on some seabirds in the Pacific Northwest. Effects on the threatened marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) are not known. I review the responses of the murrelet to variable nearshore temperatures for 1979 through 1998, which includes 3 El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and a general warming trend. Counts of murrelets in systematic marine transects at 5 sites in British Columbia covering 4–8 years per site showed considerable intra- and inter-seasonal variation, with negative effects of warm seas evident at 3 sites. Samples were generally too small for rigorous statistical testing. Inland surveys over 8 years in old-growth forests in Carmanah-Walbran showed significant effects of ocean temperature. Specifically, the mean frequency of occupied detections, a measure of near-nest flight behaviours, was strongly negatively correlated with nearshore ocean temperature. Surveys in the Ursus Valley, Clayoquot Sound, over 4 years showed a si
Burger, Alan M.. 1999. Bird in Hot Water: Responses by Marbled Murrelets to Variable Ocean Temperatures off Southwestern Vancouver Island (in Proc. Conference Biology & Management of Species and Habitats at Risk). Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Conference Biology & ManagementProceedings. Vol. 2
Keywords: at-sea surveys, Brachyramphus marmoratus, El Niño, inland surveys, marbled murrelet, ocean temperature effects, Vancouver Island
Scientific Name: Brachyramphus marmoratus
English Name: Marbled Murrelet
Other Identifier: University College of the Cariboo
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