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Seabirds as indicators of aquatic ecosystem conditions: A case for gathering multiple proxies of seabird health
Mallory, M.L.; Robinson, S.A.; Hebert, C.E.; Forbes, M.R. (2010). Seabirds as indicators of aquatic ecosystem conditions: A case for gathering multiple proxies of seabird health. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 60(1): 7-12. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.08.024
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: Oxford. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Aquatic environment; Ecosystems; Marine birds; Monitoring; Physiology; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Mallory, M.L.
  • Robinson, S.A.
  • Hebert, C.E.
  • Forbes, M.R.

Abstract
    The use of seabirds as sentinels of the condition of aquatic ecosystems has been well-established. Large environmental perturbations to aquatic food webs (e.g., chemical contamination, overfishing, particulate pollution) have all been detected or monitored by tracking seabirds at colonies. However, seabirds may elicit more subtle, sublethal responses that can also be used to track ecosystem health, or the health of seabird populations. In this article, we advocate for field researchers to plan a priori to collect a broader suite of samples when handling seabirds, and to reach out for collaboration with specialists (e.g., parasitologists, wildlife veterinarians). Collectively, such efforts will greatly improve our ability to establish baseline physiological and chemical levels for seabirds, against which we can detect future changes in aquatic ecosystems.

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