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JWM study: Low-quality marine habitat impacts murrelet

Cara J

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Dubbed “the enigma of the Pacific” until ornithologists finally tracked down its nest in the 1970s, the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a seabird that forages by the coast and flies inland to lay a single egg in the old-growth canopy of the Pacific Northwest. A recent study suggests that in the state of Washington, where the species is threatened, its breeding success is low, and it’s traveling longer distances to forage and nest than populations elsewhere, possibly due to the poorer quality of marine and inland habitats. “We’ve known for quite some time that we need to conserve breeding habitat on land, late successional forest,” said Teresa Lorenz, research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Pacific Northwest Research Station and first author on the paper published this month in The Journal of Wildlife Management. “Our research highlights that we have to also look at the quality of foraging habitat in the marine environment if we want to sustain populations of this fish-eating bird.” From 2004 to 2008, Martin Raphael, a co-author who is also a research wildlife biologist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues followed over 150 radio-tagged murrelets to track their breeding [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/jwm-study-low-quality-marine-habitat-impacts-murrelet/

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