The Pratt Museum was recently approached by researchers at the US Geologic Survey regarding planned research on seabirds in the Gulf of Alaska. Thanks to the capabilities of the digital camera now installed, and the hard work of museum volunteer Jason Sodergren, the Pratt Museum’s Gull Island camera will regularly record a series of nesting locations on the island. These programmed recordings will take place outside of museum hours, so will not impact gallery control of the camera. The Pratt is proud to partner with USGS and the Seldovia Native Association to better understand our fragile seabird populations. Following is a project abstract from the researchers:
In response to an unprecedented and widespread seabird die off in the Northern Gulf of Alaska in 2015-2016, as well as the need to monitor seabird populations and forage fish in potential oil and gas lease areas of interest to the Department of the Interior, the USGS is undertaking research on seabirds and forage fish in summer 2016. This collaborative effort to quantify seabirds and forage fish in the Northern Gulf of Alaska will include support from USGS Alaska Science Center, BOEM, and USFWS. One objective of the work is to monitor Black-legged Kittiwake and Common Murre breeding habits (population trend, timing, nest success, food) at their colonies and compare them to similar work done in the 1990’s. With help from the Pratt Museum’s Gull Island camera, we have a unique opportunity to monitor the nesting behavior of seabirds at fixed plots each day. This data will be used to better understand the timing of nesting (incubation and hatching dates, chick rearing, fledging) and prey deliveries (quantity, quality) by seabirds at each plot.