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Trends in density, abundance, and response to storm damage for westland petrels Procellaria westlandica, 2007-2019


Waugh, SM and Barbraud, C and Delord, K and Simister, KLJ and Baker, GB and Hedley, GK and Wilson, KJ and Rands, DRD, Trends in density, abundance, and response to storm damage for westland petrels Procellaria westlandica, 2007-2019, Marine Ornithology, 48, (2) pp. 273-281. ISSN 1018-3337 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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The density and distribution of Westland Petrel burrows was assessed over a 12-year period (2007-2019). During that time, burrow density increased while occupancy remained stable, commensurate with an annual population growth rate of 1.022 (95% confidence interval: 0.971-1.076), as estimated using mark recapture data. From our surveys, we estimated a 2019 baseline population of ~6 200 breeding pairs and a world population of 13 800-17 600 individuals, covering around 95% of the population. Transects were conducted to establish the location and density of 17 petrel sub-colonies in rugged, untracked terrain in Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand. Major storms in 2014-2018 caused widespread treefall and landslides, destroying breeding habitat throughout the species' breeding range. Demographic effects of the major and ongoing habitat loss may continue in the medium to long term, as birds re-establish burrows and partnerships following loss of their habitat. Our study illustrates the complex effects of climate-related disruption on the biology of a long-lived species. With a single nesting area in the West Coast region, climate change will likely have an ongoing influence on the species' global population, since an increase in the frequency of severe weather events, including ex-tropical cyclones, is expected. However, current indications suggest that the species has some flexibility to adapt and to occupy new areas following habitat disturbance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, seabird population estimate, rare climate event, breeding habitat destruction, endangered endemic species, Westland Petrel
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental assessment and monitoring
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Baker, GB (Dr Barry Baker)
ID Code:150266
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-06-06
Last Modified:2022-06-06

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