Migration and wintering of a declining seabird, the thick-billed murre Uria lomvia, on an ocean basin scale: Conservation implications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pelagic seabirds are exposed to an array of potential threats during the non-breeding period, and effective management of these threats on a large scale requires knowledge of which populations winter where. Thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) are emblematic of this conservation challenge, since they breed widely in the circumpolar Arctic, with many declining populations in the Atlantic. Threats facing murres include hunting, oil spills, bycatch and oceanic change influencing prey availability. Previous knowledge of migration pathways was insufficient to estimate the composition of various wintering populations. We collated tracking data (light-based geolocation) of 320 murres from 18 colonies in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard and mainland Norway. Data were combined with breeding population counts to estimate the size and composition of wintering populations. The main wintering areas were off Newfoundland and Labrador, off West Greenland, and around Iceland. Winter areas were associated with the interface between High and Low Arctic ocean regimes. There was strong correspondence between wintering area and breeding population status: stable populations breeding in Canada and Northwest Greenland wintered mainly off Canada, whereas declining populations from Svalbard and Iceland wintered mainly off West Greenland and around Iceland. Many populations used distinct post-breeding areas, presumably for moulting; some of these areas were previously unknown. In some populations, there was a clear tendency for females to migrate south earlier than males, which accompany flightless fledglings when they leave the colony. Our study provides a key example of the urgency of coordinated, transoceanic management of vulnerable migratory species such as seabirds.

Details

Authors
  • Morten Frederiksen
  • Sébastien Descamps
  • Kjell Einar Erikstad
  • Anthony J. Gaston
  • H. Grant Gilchrist
  • David Grémillet
  • Kasper L. Johansen
  • Yann Kolbeinsson
  • Jannie F. Linnebjerg
  • Mark L. Mallory
  • Laura A. McFarlane Tranquilla
  • Flemming R. Merkel
  • William A. Montevecchi
  • Anders Mosbech
  • Tone K. Reiertsen
  • Gregory J. Robertson
  • Harald Steen
  • Hallvard Strøm
  • Thorkell L. Thórarinsson
External organisations
  • Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Carleton University
  • Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre
  • Acadia University
  • Bird Studies Canada
  • Environment Canada
  • Aarhus University
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • University of Montpellier
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
  • Zoology

Keywords

  • Brünnich's guillemot, Geolocation, Migration, Seabird, Thick-billed murre, Winter distribution
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume200
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes

Related projects

Niklas Larsson, Atticus Pinzon-Rodriguez, Arne Hegemann, Brianne Addison, Charlie Cornwallis, Giuseppe Bianco, INGRID SASSENHAGEN, Jerker Vinterstare, Julian Melgar, Julio Neto, Lasse Jakobsen, Mikael Ekvall, Mihaela Ilieva, Natalia Annenkova, Pallavi Chauhan, Sylvie Tesson, Yannis Vardanis, Catherine Tayleur, Emily Baird, Olle Lind, Jakob Löndahl, Tina Santl-Temkiv, Anders Hedenström, Åke Lindström, Anders Nilsson, Bengt Hansson, Dennis Hasselquist, Erik Svensson, Henrik Smith, Helena Westerdahl, Jan-Åke Nilsson, Johan Bäckman, Katarina Hedlund, Lars Råberg, Maria Ingimarsdottir, Martin Green, Maria Sandell, Martin Stjernman, Nils Kjellén, Ola Olsson, Rachel Muheim, Richard Ottvall, Staffan Bensch, Xiuhong Yang, Sara Snogerup-Linse, Heiner Linke, Mikkel Brydegaard Sorensen, Patrik Lundin, Sune Svanberg, Zuguang Guan, Ann-Sofie Albrekt, Anders Hargeby, Anders Persson, Christer Brönmark, Emma Kritzberg, Karin Rengefors, Lars-Anders Hansson, Olof Berglund, Wilhelm Granéli, Alice Nicolle, Ben Chapman, Christian Skov, Johan Ahlgren, Jakob Brodersen, Jessica von Einem, Kaj Hulthén, Kelly Gutseit, Karen Lebret, Lynn Ranåker, MATTIAS EKVALL, Mercy Lard, MIKAEL JÖNSSON, PER HALLGREN, Peter Ljungberg, Samuel Hylander, Tony Fagerberg, Therese Jephson, Tomas Johansson, Bjorn Canback, Bengt Danielsson, Christoffer Johansson, Emma Ådahl, Florian Muijres, Jörgen Ripa, Melissa Bowlin, Niclas Jonzén, Per Henningsson, Roger Härdling, Andreas Nord, Arzu Gursoy, Asghar Muhammad, Anna Nilsson, Anna Runemark, Barbara Tschirren, Cecilia Nilsson, Håkan Karlsson, Irene Pala, Juliana Dänhardt, Johan Nilsson, Jens Rydell, Jonas Waldenström, Keith Larson, Kristina Karlsson, Kristin Scherman, Mikael Åkesson, Martin Andersson, Maja Tarka, Maren Wellenreuther, Max Lundberg, Miriam Liedvogel, Maj Rundlöf, Martin Wintersparv Stervander, Machteld Verzijden, Olof Hellgren, Raymond Klaassen, Roine Strandberg, Susanne Åkesson, SANDRA SKÖLD CHIRIAC, Sophia Engel, Sissel Sjöberg, Sara Naurin, Thomas Alerstam, Tom J Evans, Torbjörn von Schantz, Ulf Ottosson, Marie Dacke & Helena Osvath

2008/06/012018/12/31

Project: Research

View all (1)