Continuous, long-term monitoring of the food habits of marine birds is a key component in detecting responses to anticipated climate change of both the birds and the prey populations on which they depend. The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR) has been collecting seabird diet samples from the Pribilof and Aleutian Islands for more than 30 years. With support from previous LCC funding, AMNWR has developed protocols for zooplankton sample analysis, created a reference collection of seabird prey items, and helped develop and populate a publicly available data management system. Still needed are process and capacity for whole fish samples and digested fish samples (hard parts such as otoliths). This project dovetails with project FY2013-04 that used Seabirds as Indicators of Climate Change. This project formalized a laboratory protocol and produced a manual and reference collection of samples. These will be of use not only to seabird biologists and managers but also to others that have similar diet samples. The funding we provided was obligated as part of a cooperative agreement administered by the USFWS Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and used to complete prey identification of auklet species.
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