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Chapter 26: Mortality of Marbled Murrelets Due to Oil Pollution in North AmericaAuthor(s): Harry R. Carter; Katherine J. Kuletz
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. 261-270
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionMortality of Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) due to oil pollution is one of the major threats to murrelet populations. Mortality from large spills and chronic oil pollution has been occurring for several decades but has been documented poorly throughout their range; it probably has contributed to declines in populations, in conjunction with loss of nesting habitat and mortality in gill nets. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska caused the largest single mortality of murrelets (about 8,400 birds) in the world and contributed to decline in murrelet populations in Prince William Sound. Due to inadequate baseline data, low recovery of oiled carcasses, and other factors, the full impacts of this extensive mortality have not been determined. Restoration activities have included acquisition of murrelet nesting areas in old-growth forests in southcentral Alaska. Similar acquisition of old-growth forests will occur as restoration for mortality from the 1986 Apex Houston oil spill in California. Future oil spills will continue to threaten the viability of small, declining populations, especially in California, Oregon and Washington where a single large spill could extirpate an entire population. Efforts must be expanded to: better document mortalities during large and small spills, develop better baseline data to assess impacts, identify old-growth forests for acquisition for restoration, and reduce oil pollution.
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CitationCarter, Harry R.; Kuletz, Katherine J. 1995. Chapter 26: Mortality of Marbled Murrelets Due to Oil Pollution in North America. 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. 261-270
- Chapter 28: Abundance, Distribution, and Population Status of Marbled Murrelets in Alaska
- Chapter 27: Mortality of Marbled Murrelets in Gill Nets in North America
- Regional population monitoring of the marbled murrelet: field and analytical methods.
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