Cooperative Research Units
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Pigeon guillemot restoration research in Prince William Sound


May 2007 - December 2011


1. Determine the feasibility of restoring the breeding population of Pigeon Guillemots on Naked Island using mink control. Researchers propose answering the following questions:
a) Is the mink population on Naked Island introduced, or is it the result of natural colonization?
b) Is mink predation currently a significant factor limiting guillemot nest success on Naked Island?
c) How feasible is it to trap and remove all mink from Naked Island and, if the removal is successful, how long will Naked Island likely remain mink-free?
2. Determine whether the size and productivity of the breeding population of Pigeon Guillemots on Naked Island is limited by food supply. Researchers propose answering the following questions:
a) What is the current size of the Pigeon Guillemot breeding population on Naked, Peak, Storey, Smith, Little Smith, and Lone islands in central PWS?
b) Do the diets of most pairs of nesting guillemots consist primarily of nearshore demersal fishes (i.e., blennies, sculpins, pricklebacks), and include few high-lipid schooling forage fish (i.e., sand lance)?
c) Do less than half of all successful nesting pairs of guillemots raise 2-chick broods?
d) Are chick meal delivery rates, chick growth rates, and chick fledging masses below average?
3. Design a restoration plan for the Pigeon Guillemot population on Naked Island that is feasible, effective, and associated with a reasonable cost-benefit ratio. Potential restoration alternatives include:
a) removal of all mink from Naked Island
b) institute a lethal mink control program on Naked Island to drastically reduce the size of mink population
c) Iinstallation of artificial guillemot nest sites on Naked Island to reduce vulnerability to predation
d) lethal mink control and installation of artificial nest sites on Naked Island to further reduce vulnerability to predation
e) no action


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4236



Funding Agencies

  • USFWS Region 7


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey