Seabirds are frequently used as indicators of marine conditions because their diets often overlap other apex predators and because their reproductive parameters are both easily monitored and highly responsive to food. Therefore, seabirds were an important component of GAP research from 2001 until 2006. Seabirds were used as bio-indicators to monitor the abundance and distribution of forage fishes and other trophic intermediates of the Gulf of Alaska food web.
Areas of research included population trends, reproductive performance, nest-site attendance, nestling growth, and diets. Methodologies employed ranged from counts of adults and nests to weighting of nestlings to fatty acid analysis of fat plugs.
Some or all components of research were focused on a variety of species occupying distinct foraging niches.
Offshore divers: tufted puffins and common murres
Surface feeders: glaucous-winged gulls
Nearshore divers: pigeon guillemots, pelagic cormorants, and red-faced cormorants
While seabirds are no longer a specific focus of GAP research, past efforts are well represented in publications.
Additional information on current research being conducted on seabirds in the Gulf of Alaska:
- USGS: Seabirds, Foragefish, and Marine Ecosystems Research
- North Pacific Research Board:
- USFWS: Migratory Bird Management: Seabirds