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What We Hope To Learn:
Seabirds may serve as indicators of ecosystem health because they are relatively easy to study and are responsive to changes in the food items. Because seabirds may be used as ecosystem indicators, understanding their status during the breeding season can provide information on the local environment of Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Coast. Black-legged kittiwakes are plunge divers that feed off the surface, while common murres are pursuit divers that feed in the water column. Studying the breeding success of two seabird species with different foraging strategies may also be a way in which learn more about local food sources.
The coastal surveys will provide information on annual and seasonal trends, migration chronology, and habitat use of marine birds in the Resurrection Bay. Combining survey data with habitat and biological mapping layers from Alaska Shore Zone, we will investigate habitat use and determine ‘hot spots’ throughout the bay.
By studying seabirds and sea ducks in Resurrection Bay, we can begin to answer biological and ecosystem-based questions about our local environment.