Event Title

The Effect of “The Blob” on a Seabird Colony in the Salish Sea

Presenter Information

Rashida Smith, Andrews University

Start Date

3-3-2017 2:30 PM

End Date

3-3-2017 4:00 PM

Description

Sea surface temperature (SST) is a primary predictor of egg cannibalism in a large glaucous-winged gull colony on Protection Island, Washington, presumably because high SST is associated with decreased numbers of fish on which gulls feed. During 2006-2011, a 0.1°C increase in average SST during September-May prior to egg laying increased the odds that an egg was cannibalized by 10%, all other factors held constant. In 2016, however, SST was high in the Salish Sea yet egg cannibalism was low. Forage fish appeared to be abundant near the surface. Other strange events occurred during the breeding season of 2016 in the Salish Sea, such as a die-off of rhinoceros auklets. The presence of an unexpected large mass of warm water, called “The Blob”, just off Vancouver Island, may have led to these anomalies. In this project, we are conducting a comprehensive literature search to identify known connections between SST, forage fish dynamics, gull feeding behaviour, and “The Blob”. So far, we have found that SST directly and indirectly influences the distribution and migration patterns of herring fish.

Acknowledgments

Dr. James Hayward & Dr. Shandelle Henson

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Mar 3rd, 2:30 PM Mar 3rd, 4:00 PM

The Effect of “The Blob” on a Seabird Colony in the Salish Sea

Sea surface temperature (SST) is a primary predictor of egg cannibalism in a large glaucous-winged gull colony on Protection Island, Washington, presumably because high SST is associated with decreased numbers of fish on which gulls feed. During 2006-2011, a 0.1°C increase in average SST during September-May prior to egg laying increased the odds that an egg was cannibalized by 10%, all other factors held constant. In 2016, however, SST was high in the Salish Sea yet egg cannibalism was low. Forage fish appeared to be abundant near the surface. Other strange events occurred during the breeding season of 2016 in the Salish Sea, such as a die-off of rhinoceros auklets. The presence of an unexpected large mass of warm water, called “The Blob”, just off Vancouver Island, may have led to these anomalies. In this project, we are conducting a comprehensive literature search to identify known connections between SST, forage fish dynamics, gull feeding behaviour, and “The Blob”. So far, we have found that SST directly and indirectly influences the distribution and migration patterns of herring fish.