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Foraging ecology of auks at their southern range boundary


September 2007 - December 2011


Matinicus Rock, Maine, supports a diversity of auks, including the southernmost breeding colonies of Atlantic puffins and razorbills, black guillemots, and potentially common murres. Understanding the foraging ecology and at-sea distribution of these species is critical because they serve as indicators of change in the marine environment, and likely forage in waters off of Massachusetts during the non-breeding season, and possibly while feeding chicks. To date, most seabird studies have been conducted within colonies, but recent advances in technology allow us to track birds at sea using satellite telemetry. We will combine analyses of food items brought to chicks, with telemetry locations, in order to better understand the foraging ecology of auks nesting at the southern limit of their distribution.
Our results should help managers identify foraging sites of razorbills, help guide placement of offshore wind turbines to minimize impacts to the birds, and perhaps anticipate changes in feeding sites in response to global climate warming.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 5

Phd Students: 11

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 1

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 69

Scientific Publications: 35

Presentations: 148



Funding Agencies

  • National Audubon Society


Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. University of Massachusetts
  6. Wildlife Management Institute