From April 12-14, more than 125 seabird scientists, conservationists and NGOs from all over the world shared research, on Twitter. In case you missed it, here is mine!
We're about to kick off the 3rd World Seabird Twitter Conference (#WSTC3)! It launches in just 2 hours (0:00 UTC) and will run for 3 days.
Twitter Conferences are a carbon friendly and free science communication event exclusively held on Twitter (See our note in Science!). Over the next 3 days seabird researchers, conservationists and NGOs from all over the world will share their work in 6 tweets. Last year, the World Seabird Twitter Conference reached over 2 MILLION people, and I can't wait to see how it will grow given the number of presenters has nearly doubled.
If you want to tune in, and you have a twitter account, look up "#WSTC3" to find and follow presentations. Add this hashtag to your tweets to take part in the conversation. For those without a social media account, you can still view the presentations: head over to Twitter or seabirds.net.
This year's abstract book includes a timetable of >125 presentations, grouped into 22 themed sessions and scheduled across all time zones. This year, thanks to BlackBawks, we also have an online interactive schedule.
To find out, you may want to read a short note recently published in the Journal Oryx, about the progress made on waterbird conservation (including seabirds) during the East-Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) 9th Meeting of the Partners in Singapore, this January. The article highlights emerging priorities and is the 3rd in a series of summaries from the 8th and 7th EAAFP Meeting of the Partners.
One of the EAAFP efforts I will be leading - as a member of the Seabird Working Group - involves an apparent lack of standardized monitoring of waterbirds in the flyway, particularly for shorebirds in South-east Asia and for the flyway's breeding seabirds. As part of my PhD thesis, I will carry out a flyway-wide analysis of population trends and knowledge gaps. If you have or know of seabird colony monitoring efforts in South East Asia (i.e., surveyed 2+ times with comparable methods), please get in touch!
Gallo-Cajiao, E., Jackson, M.V., Avery-Gomm, S. and Fuller, R.A. (2017) ‘Singapore hosts international efforts for conserving migratory waterbirds in the Asia-Pacific’, Oryx, 51(2), pp. 206–207. doi: 10.1017/S0030605317000163.
"The Critically Endangered Chinese crested tern (Thalasseus bernsteini), thought to be extinct for over 60 years before its rediscovery in 2000, stood as a beacon of hope, showing what can be achieved through specific actions on the ground." Photo: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chinese_crested_tern_colony.jpg
In January, I attended the East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) meeting in Singapore - a major international meetings targeted at coordinating actions to save our flyway’s incredible migratory waterbirds. The EAAFP is multi-actor voluntary agreement for conserving migratory waterbirds (shorebirds, seabirds, cranes, anatidae) along the 22 countries of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, from Alaska to New Zealand. It has a primary focus on habitat conservation for shorebirds, cranes, anatidae, and seabirds – as habitat loss remains a key threat to many species across these taxa. The EAAFP Meeting of Partners (MOP) is convened every two years and is the main decision-making forum of this agreement.
My role was to join the Seabird Working Group pre-meeting, where a flyway-wide approach to the conservation of seabird was discussed. The paucity of standardised monitoring data on the flyway’s 118 breeding seabirds was raised at this meeting, and this became a recurring concern identified throughout the MOP for all species groups. Among other commitments, the Seabird Working Group pledged to carry out a flyway-wide analysis of population trends and knowledge gaps. This work will be carried as part of my PhD, as it dovetails with my current analysis of global seabird population trends. The Seabird Working Group also shared and discussed other successes, including the remarkable story of the Chinese Crested Tern, thought to be extinct for over 60 years before its rediscovery in 2000. This positive story, amidst a backdrop of continuing declines in many other species, served as a beacon of hope showcasing the importance of coordinated, targeted actions.
The MOP made major steps forward on several issues. For a full account of the progress please visit the Fuller Lab website, or stay tuned for our upcoming article in Oryx.
Newfoundland, Canada can be an inhospitable place in the dead of winter. In January 2013, a unfortunate mass die-off of Dovekies (Alle alle) created an opportunity to document their levels of plastic ingestion. Our research, recently published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, found that nearly one third of the seabirds had ingested at least one piece of plastic. This is the highest recorded ingestion rate ever found for Dovekies in this area, or elsewhere.
Unfortunately, our ability to understand the cause of this increase is undermined by the inconsistent methods past studies have used to document plastic ingestion. Using comparable methods is paramount, since each study is meant to add a piece to a global puzzle so that the scientific community can track trends in plastic ingestion in wildlife. This Newfoundland-based study provides a great example of just how important using standardized methods really is.
The publication is available here.
Additional coverage on the story is available here: http://meopar.ca/news/entry/mass-seabird-die-off-an-opportunity-for-plastic-ingestion-research