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Quantifying the relative impact of hunting and oiling on Brünnich’s guillemots in the North-west Atlantic

Published on Aug 6, 2019in Polar Research1.152
· DOI :10.33265/polar.v38.3378
Morten Frederiksen33
Estimated H-index: 33
(AU: Aarhus University),
Jannie F. Linnebjerg7
Estimated H-index: 7
(AU: Aarhus University)
+ 2 AuthorsGregory J. Robertson30
Estimated H-index: 30
Abstract
Brunnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia), or thick-billed murre, is an abundant pan-Arctic seabird, but several Atlantic breeding populations are declining. The species is subject to traditional harvest in the important wintering areas off west Greenland and Newfoundland, and has been subject to chronic oil pollution on the east coast of Canada. Until recently, knowledge of winter distribution has been insufficient to assess the impact of these mortality sources on specific breeding populations. We collate existing information on mortality from bag statistics in Greenland and Canada and studies of oiling off Newfoundland, as well as new data on age distribution in the harvest. Based on the results of recent tracking studies, we construct a spatially explicit population model that allocates hunting and oiling mortality to breeding populations and estimates the relative impact on their growth rate. Results indicate that annual population growth rate is depressed by 0.011–0.041 (approximately 1%–4%) by anthropogenic mortality sources. In addition to affecting local breeders, hunting in Greenland mainly affects declining breeding populations in Svalbard and Iceland, while hunting and oiling in Newfoundland mainly affect guillemots breeding in Arctic Canada and north-west Greenland, where most populations are relatively stable. The strongest relative impact is predicted on the small breeding population in Atlantic Canada, which winters mainly on the Newfoundland Shelf and therefore is exposed to both hunting and oiling. Our results clarify the relationships between hunting in Greenland and Canada and growth of specific breeding populations, and thus have major implications for harvest management of guillemots.
  • References (27)
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References27
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#1Jannie F. Linnebjerg (Lund University)H-Index: 7
#2Morten Frederiksen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 33
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#1Julie Fluhr (NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute)H-Index: 1
#2Hallvard Strøm (NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute)H-Index: 18
Last. Sébastien Descamps (NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute)H-Index: 19
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The Arctic is experiencing environmental changes at unprecedented rates. These changes are spreading throughout the entire food web, affecting apex predators such as seabirds. Brunnich’s guillemot Uria lomvia populations in Svalbard archipelago have significantly declined since the mid-1990s. For long-lived species such as seabirds, population growth rate is highly sensitive to changes in adult survival rates, and slight changes in survival may have large consequences at the population level. Ad...
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#1Morten Frederiksen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 33
#2Sébastien Descamps (NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute)H-Index: 19
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Banding of Thick-billed Murres Uria lomvia in the Canadian Arctic was initiated by L.M. Tuck in the 1950s, when he visited three of the largest breeding colonies in Canada. Up to 2010, banding had been carried out at eight of the 10 major breeding colonies, with totals of more than 1000 birds banded at Coburg Island and Cape Hay, Bylot Island, in the High Arctic and at Digges Sound and Coats Island in northern Hudson Bay. Because murres are long-lived birds, large-scale banding can continue to p...
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#1Flemming Merkel (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 18
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Large population declines were reported for the thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia) in Greenland for the period 1930s–1980s, but no national status has been published for the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the murres have gained more protection and several human-induced mortality factors have been markedly reduced. Here, we give an updated status based on the past 30 years of murre count data. The total Greenland population in 2011 was estimated to 468,300 birds (95 % CI 430,700–505,900) or around 342,0...
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Analysis of synchrony in population fluctuations is a central topic in ecology. It can help identify factors that regulate populations, and also the scales at which these factors exert their influence. Using long-term data from seven Brunnich’s guillemot colonies in Svalbard, Norway, we determined that year to year population fluctuations were synchronized in six of the seven colonies. The seventh colony was located farther away and in a different oceanographic system. Moreover, all seven coloni...
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#1Guillaume Péron (CSU: Colorado State University)H-Index: 14
Summary 1. Demographic compensation, the increase in average individual performance following a perturbation that reduces population size, and, its opposite, demographic overadditivity (or superadditivity) are central processes in both population ecology and wildlife management. A continuum of population responses to changes in cause-specific mortality exists, of which additivity and complete compensation constitute particular points. The position of a population on that continuum influences its...
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#1Morten Frederiksen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 33
#2Børge MoeH-Index: 24
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Aim: An understanding of the non-breeding distribution and ecology of migratory species is necessary for successful conservation. Many seabirds spend the non-breeding season far from land, and information on their distribution during this time is very limited. The black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla, is a widespread and numerous seabird in the North Atlantic and Pacific, but breeding populations throughout the Atlantic range have declined recently. To help understand the reasons for the dec...
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Conditions in arctic marine environments are changing rapidly, and understanding the link between environmental and demographic parameters could help to predict the conse- quences of future change for arctic seabirds. Over 20 yr (1988 to 2007), we studied colony atten- dance, adult survival and reproductive success of thick-billed murres, as well as the departure masses and diets of their chicks at Coats Island, Nunavut, Canada (62.95° N, 82.00° W). We eval- uated how each parameter responded to...
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#1Anthony J. Gaston (EC: Environment Canada)H-Index: 47
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Last. H. Grant Gilchrist (EC: Environment Canada)H-Index: 12
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Canada’s eastern Arctic (Nunavut and Arctic Quebec—Nunavik, N of 60°) supports large numbers of seabirds in summer. Seabird breeding habitat in this region includes steep, rocky coasts and low-lying coasts backed by lowland sedge-meadow tundra. The former areas support colonial cliff- and scree-nesting seabirds, such as murres and fulmars; the latter inland or coastal seabirds, such as terns, gulls and jaegers. The region supports some 4 million breeding seabirds, of which the most numerous are ...
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