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Habitat as a potential factor limiting the recovery of a population of nocturnal seabirds

Authors

  • Heather L. Major,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6
    Current affiliation:
    1. 402-4817 49th Street, Yellowknife, NT, Canada X1A 3S7.
    • Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6
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  • Moira J. F. Lemon,

    1. Environment Canada, RR#1 Robertson Road, Delta, BC, Canada V4K 3N2
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  • J. Mark Hipfner

    1. Environment Canada, RR#1 Robertson Road, Delta, BC, Canada V4K 3N2
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  • Associate Editor: Michael Chamberlain

Abstract

We asked whether the lack of a population response by ancient murrelets (Synthliboramphus antiquus) to eradication of rats (Rattus spp.) at Langara Island could be due to a change in vegetative cover. We quantified ancient murrelet habitat associations on 12 islands and assessed changes in vegetation at Langara Island between 1981 and 2007. We found that ancient murrelets exhibit a high degree of flexibility in their use of available breeding habitats, and we noted no changes over time. Thus, recovery of ancient murrelets at Langara Island is unlikely to be limited by habitat quality. We propose artificial social attraction as a method to speed recovery. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

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