Demography of Black-footed and Laysan Albatross: Kilaua Point & Tern Island Populations
August 2017 - September 2020
The black-footed (Phoebastria nigripes; BFAL) and Laysan (Phoebastria immutabilis; LAAL) albatrosses are long-lived seabirds of conservation concern to the USFWS, and a petition to list the BFAL under the Endangered Species Act has recently been submitted to USFWS. Furthermore, over 65% of the world population of these albatross species nest on remote low island refuges in the Pacific, and in smaller numbers in the main Hawaiian Islands. Relatively little is known about the life history, survival, and breeding frequency of Northern Hemisphere albatross species, and in how this compares between the low islands of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the main Hawaiian Islands. Such information is important, given the variety of threats that these species face (e.g., fishery bycatch, plastics ingestions, contaminants, loss of breeding habitat due to sea level rise). The project is a collaboration among the USGS-COCFWRU, the USFWS Region 1 Migratory Bird and Habitat and Inventory and Monitoring programs, the Marine National Monuments of the Pacific, and the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. A model for annual survival and breeding probability for albatross will be developed for Kilauea Point NWR and Tern Island, allowing these processes to be connected with threats such as overlap with long-line fishing and other environmental factors. A vetted banding database will be provided for future analyses and recommendations for future monitoring intensity will also be provided to Refuge personnel.