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The Pacific Seabird Group (PSG) celebrated its 40th annual conference in Portland, Oregon, on 20- 23 February 2013. The annual conference is an important place for seabird biologists, scientists, and conservationists from many organizations to gather to discuss science, conservation, and policy issues related to seabirds in the Pacific Ocean.  The conference is an opportunity for additional meetings to occur at the same time.  The Alaska Fisheries Science Center sent two staff to this meeting, Dr. Stephani Zador and Shannon Fitzgerald,  to represent the Center’s important work on seabirds as ecosystem indicators and on seabird/fishery interactions.  Dr. Zador presented the paper “Red flags or red herrings? Using ecosystem indicators to detect anomalous conditions in the Gulf of Alaska in 2011,” by Stephani Zador, Olav Ormseth, and Heather Renner.  Dr. Zador also chaired the session titled “Foraging ecology and distribution at sea.” 

Fitzgerald organized the various contractors and partners involved in the AFSC Coordinated Seabird Studies Group to present five posters at the meeting.  These included “Demographics of albatrosses caught as bycatch in Hawaiian (2010-2012) and Alaskan longline fisheries (2007, 2009-2011)” by Jessie Beck, Michelle Hester, Hannahrose M. Nevins, Shannon Fitzgerald, and Erica Donnelly-Greenan; “Sight and salvage: preparing observers for seabird duties at sea” by Jane Dolliver, Shannon Fitzgerald, Charlie Wright, and Julia K. Parrish; “Estimates of seabird bycatch in Alaskan groundfish fisheries using the Alaska Region Catch Accounting System, 2007-2011” by Shannon Fitzgerald, Jennifer Cahalan, Jason Gaspar, and Jennifer Mondrogon; “Evaluating the recent distribution of albatross bycatch in Alaskan longline groundfish fisheries (2007 to 2011)” by Edward F. Melvin, Sarah L. Jennings, Troy J. Guy, and Shannon M. Fitzgerald; and “Diurnal occurrence of dead mesopelagic fish and squid at the sea surface and their importance as a previously unrecognized predictable food resource for oceanic marine birds” by William A. Walker, Robin W. Baird, Daniel L. Webster, Jessica M. Aschettino, Gregory S. Schorr, Daniel J. McSweeney, and Shannon Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald also chaired the session titled “Bycatch and birds at sea.”

AFSC staff also attended and contributed to the Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Team meeting held on 20 February, the North Pacific Albatross Working Group meeting and the USFWS Birds of Conservation Concern briefing held on 21 February, and the PSG Conservation Committee held on 22 February. Partners helping to represent the AFSC Seabird Studies Group at the meeting included Washington Sea Grant, the University of Washington COASST Program, Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, the Alaska Regional Office, and others. Abstracts are available at: http://www.pacificseabirdgroup.org. The February 2014 conference is scheduled for Juneau, Alaska.

By Shannon Fitzgerald and Stephani Zador

Ecosystem Modeling

Dr. Kerim Aydin participated in a joint workshop of the National Science Foundation and North Pacific Research Board’s Bering Sea Synthesis program in Friday Harbor, Washington, on 25-28 February 2013.  Workshop participants presented results from Bering Sea studies of lower trophic level organisms, particularly focusing on production rates of mesozooplankton with respect to climate and fish populations from recent years of observations.  Dr. Aydin presented results from the Forage and Euphausiid Abundance in Space and Time (FEAST) modeling effort that suggested key uncertainties in top-down and bottom-up control in the Bering Sea resulting from continued overall uncertainty in production rates and life cycles of euphausiids in the region.

By Kerim Aydin

 

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