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    Recent declines in some species of marine organisms in the Bering Sea have spurred an interest in evaluating causes and predicting long-term impacts of these changes. Red-legged kittiwakes (Rissa brevirostris) and black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) are two species of top-level predators that have declined since the mid-1970s at colonies in the Pribilof Islands, site of the largest breeding concentrations of seabirds in the southeastern Bering Sea. In contrast, Kittiwake populations have increased over the same period at Bogoslof Island, 300 km south of the Pribilofs. Ocean climate trends and changes in marine food webs have been listed as likely causes of changes in seabird populations, but relationships between environmental factors and seabird population fluctuations are difficult to study directly. Nevertheless, it is important to understand causal mechanisms. We propose to compare kittiwake population parameters at the Pribilofs and Bogoslof. The Pribilof Islands lie on the continental shelf and are surrounded by water less than 200 m deep, whereas the much deeper water of the basin surround Bogoslof. We plan to test the hypothesis that divergent trends in abundance of kittiwakes (Rissa spp.) at two locations in the southeastern Bering Sea are related to differences in community structure and food web production. Specifically we will evaluate whether two parameters of reproduction, productivity (e.g., chicks/pair) and chick growth rates, are higher at Bogoslof than in the Pribilofs. Furthermore, we will evaluate historic patterns of population change, timing of nesting events, and various reproduction parameters (e.g., clutch size, laying success, hatching success, fledging success, chick growth) to evaluate correlation with environmental factors. This proposal is part of a multidisciplinary project called "Regime Forcing and Ecosystem Response ReFER." It compliments and will benefit from an ongoing seabird-monitoring program in the Pribilof Islands funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An NPMR project

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    Data Type: Birds; This dataset contains information extracted from the statewide Seabird Catalog managed and updated by USFWS. Seabird colony and species information was transferred electronically to an ARC/INFO coverage of the spill affected area. GIS database produced as a result of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) for Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA). The intended purpose of this database is to provide a resource for use in the oil spill damage identification, oil spill response, habitat restoration activities.

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    Marine bird populations in the Bering Sea have been monitored at selected colonies since the mid-1970's. At the Pribilof Islands, declines of black-legged (Rissa tridactyla) and red-legged (R.brevirostris) kittiwake populations occurred between the mid-1970's and the mid-1980's. Thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia) populations also declined at the Pribilof Islands during this period, as did common murres (U. aalge) at Bluff in Norton Sound.

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    The data consist of continuous counts of marine birds within a bounded transect. Information on species, number and behavior is entered for every observation in a hierarchical database. The data sets were concentrated in grids centered on the 50 m depth contour over the inner shelf of the southeastern Bering Sea and in the vicinity of the Pribilof Islands. The size of the data set is indicated by km surveyed: Spring 1997-3992 km; Fall 1997-865 km; Spring 1998 - 3,786 km; Fall 1998- 1,065 km; Spring 1999- 3,940 km; and Summer/Fall 1999- 4,220 km.

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    Marine mammals are vital to the subsistence lifestyle and economy of coastal Alaska Natives. In 1988, six coastal Alaska Native regions formed the Alaska Sea Otter Commission to restore Alaska Native governance over the northern sea otter. In November 1998, the Commission expanded its role as a statewide organization to advocate on behalf of Steller sea lion and Alaska Native relationships. The organization officially expanded to The Alaska Sea Otter & Steller Sea Lion Commission (TASSC). In 1992, the Commission developed regional management plans for each of its six regions. Recognized within these plans is a need for local participation in research and management. Research includes building regional capacity by training local residents on the methods of biological sampling of the northern sea otter. In 1995, the Commission received funding to implement a biological training program. Over 55 local people from within the six coastal regions received training. To date, 185 biological samples from subsistence harvested sea otters were collected for research. This project expands the biological sampling program to train local people on marine mammal and bird stranding protocols. This project also includes; Kimberly Williams Alaska Sea Otter & Steller Sea Lion Commission 505 West Northern Lights Blvd. Suite 217 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-6199 (907) 274-9799 asoc@alaska.net An NPMR project

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    Recent declines in some species of marine organisms in the Bering Sea have spurred an interest in evaluating causes and predicting long-term impacts of these changes. Red-legged kittiwakes (Rissa brevirostris) and black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) are two species of top-level predators that have declined since the mid-1970s at colonies in the Pribilof Islands, site of the largest breeding concentrations of seabirds in the southeastern Bering Sea. In contrast, Kittiwake populations have increased over the same period at Bogoslof Island, 300 km south of the Pribilofs. Ocean climate trends and changes in marine food webs have been listed as likely causes of changes in seabird populations, but relationships between environmental factors and seabird population fluctuations are difficult to study directly. Nevertheless, it is important to understand causal mechanisms. We propose to compare kittiwake population parameters at the Pribilofs and Bogoslof. The Pribilof Islands lie on the continental shelf and are surrounded by water less than 200 m deep, whereas the much deeper water of the basin surround Bogoslof. We plan to test the hypothesis that divergent trends in abundance of kittiwakes (Rissa spp.) at two locations in the southeastern Bering Sea are related to differences in community structure and food web production. Specifically we will evaluate whether two parameters of reproduction, productivity (e.g., chicks/pair) and chick growth rates, are higher at Bogoslof than in the Pribilofs. Furthermore, we will evaluate historic patterns of population change, timing of nesting events, and various reproduction parameters (e.g., clutch size, laying success, hatching success, fledging success, chick growth) to evaluate correlation with environmental factors. This proposal is part of a multidisciplinary project called "Regime Forcing and Ecosystem Response ReFER." It compliments and will benefit from an ongoing seabird-monitoring program in the Pribilof Islands funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An NPMR project

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    Data on the pelagic distribution and abundance of seabirds are critical for understanding the basic ecology of marine birds, monitoring population trends, assessing impacts of human activities, identifying critical marine habitats, and educating the public about seabird conservation. To address these needs, the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have undertaken the task of consolidating and providing comprehensive geographic data on the pelagic distribution of seabirds in Alaska and the North Pacific. The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) project has collected data from researchers in Canada, Russia, and the U.S. (1972-2003). Currently we are working on integrating these different datasets into a single database that will be available over the internet through an ARC/IMS interface. The NPPSD will be an ongoing project that will serve as a repository and server for future pelagic survey data from the North Pacific. In its full implementation, this system will consist of three relational database files describing (a) sightings, (b) effort, and (c) cell attributes. Present accounting does not permit a precise estimate of the size of this database, although it may contain at least 40,000 shipboard transect records (10-minute strip census counts) dating from the Alaskan OCSEAP period alone. Work conducted more recently constitutes 10,000 or more additional transects. A large data set also exists on marine bird distribution from aerial surveys conducted during the OCSEAP, and in recent years the Fish and Wildlife Service and USGS has put considerable effort into pelagic surveys for marine birds, particularly in Prince William Sound, Southeast Alaska, Cook Inlet and Glacier Bay. Parameters include cruise, date, time, observer, latitude-longitude, conditions, species, numbers, behavior and various environmental data. Extensive effort in all areas of the Alaskan continental shelf, plus selected cruises in the North Pacific between Hawaii, Japan, the Pacific west coast, and Alaska. Electronic format files suitable for export to programs for mapping (e.g., ArcGIS, ArcView) or data analysis (e.g. SAS or SPSS).Accessibility: Limited at present. Some precursors to the database under construction are available through NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center (OCSEAP data). How it is accessed: For advice on content, suitability for purpose, accessibility, and plans for the database, direct general inquiries to John Piatt (USGS-BRD), phone 907-786-3549, email john_piatt@usgs.gov. Current Issues: Developers currently are re-compiling and proofing original data, developing a standard database format, and integrating recent databases from agency and private sources. Statistical issues still need resolution to provide "best blend" estimates of abundance incorporating ail available information (shipboard transects, aerial and shoreline surveys). Significant Gaps: (a) Nonexistent data: winter months in Alaska (October-March), while not entirely without sampling effort, have not been studied as thoroughly as the summer period (May August), (b) Existing data not in database: Some investigators with important contributions for the Bering Sea have not consented or provided data for inclusion in a consolidated database. Comments: The NPPSD Atlas is a work in progress. Initial (early 1980's) work with the OCSEAP database involved data entry, error-checking, and limited analysis capabilities developed for use on a minicomputer. The Alaska Science Center (ASC) has relocated the original datasets from NODC and FWS and is in the process of correcting errors in the datasets, documenting metadata for the original surveys, and compiling other datasets. The goal is a comprehensive, easy-to-use, PC-based data management and graphical presentation system for all types of existing and future at-sea surveys of marine birds and mammals in the North Pacific. Attainment of that goal involves three steps: (1) addition of available data to the PC based system, (2) development of an efficient data entry system for PCs, including error-checking features and data management software that allows maximum flexibility for filtering and selecting records, and (3) preparation of appropriate products in hard copy, including a user's guide and database documentation.

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    Data Type: Birds; This layer contains seabird colony data for Prince William Sound. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) publishes the seabird colony data which is based on the 1978 "Alaska Seabird Colonies Catalog" computer database and unpublished archives containing updates subsequent to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

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    Finding a suitable mate is a challenge for just about every species. If you're a seabird like the crested auklet, finding a partner may be as simple as being good at keeping parasites off your body. Doug Schneider has more, in this week's Arctic Science Journeys Radio.

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    This project will adapt a technique for assessing diets of marine mammals using fatty acid signatures to study seabirds in the southeastern Bering Sea. An NPMR project titled "Estimating seabird diets using fatty acids: Protocol development and testing of ReFER Hypotheses", the method has numerous advantages over other more common approaches that use ratios of stable isotopes and stomach content analyses. It will test hypotheses presented in the ReFER (Regime Forcing and Ecosystem Response) conceptual model that diets of populations of nonspecific seabirds differ between oceanic and shelf habitats and that differences in diet account for opposite trends in abundance at the Pribilof Islands (shelf habitat) compared to Bogoslof Island (oceanic habitat). As part of the study, we will develop an inventory of fatty acid profiles of key forage species in the region that will be useful for diet studies of not only seabirds, but of trophically related marine mammals including sea lions, fur seals, and harbor seals. We will develop a protocol for obtaining biopsy samples of live birds, reducing their mortality rates from diet research. This project also includes: Alan Springer University of Alaska, Fairbanks P.O. Box 757220 Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7220 (907) 474-7531 director@ims.alaska.edu An NPMR project