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Chapter 22: Marbled Murrelet Food Habits and Prey EcologyAuthor(s): Esther E. Burkett
Source: In: Ralph, C. John; Hunt, George L., Jr.; Raphael, Martin G.; Piatt, John F., Technical Editors. 1995. Ecology and conservation of the Marbled Murrelet. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-152. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 223-246
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionInformation on food habits of the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) was compiled from systematic studies and anecdotal reports from Alaska to California. Major differences between the winter and summer diets were apparent, with euphausiids and mysids becoming more dominant during winter and spring. The primary invertebrate prey items were euphausiids, mysids, and amphipods. Small schooling fishes included sand lance, anchovy, herring, osmerids, and seaperch. The fish portion of the diet was most important in the summer and coincided with the nestling and fledgling period. Murrelets are opportunistic feeders, and interannual changes in the marine environment can result in major changes in prey consumption. Site-specific conditions also influence the spectrum and quantity of prey items. More information on food habits south of British Columbia is needed. Studies on the major prey species of the murrelet and relationships between other seabirds and these prey are briefly summarized. Short-term phenomena such as El Niño events would not be expected to adversely affect murrelet populations over the long term. However, cumulative impacts in localized areas, especially in conjunction with El Niño events, could cause population declines and even extirpation.
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CitationBurkett, Esther E. 1995. Chapter 22: Marbled Murrelet Food Habits and Prey Ecology. In: Ralph, C. John; Hunt, George L., Jr.; Raphael, Martin G.; Piatt, John F., Technical Editors. 1995. Ecology and conservation of the Marbled Murrelet. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-152. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 223-246
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