DV-12-16 Sea gulls as potential bioindicators of ecosystem health in the Gulf of Maine

John Anderson
College of the Atlantic
105 Eden Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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Recent declines in sea gull populations in the Gulf of Maine suggest significant changes in the ecosystem. Gulls nesting on the Maine coast travel long distances across the United States and Canada, and there is no coordinated effort among gull biologists from these areas to understand gull population dynamics or travel patterns. In response, Anderson plans to convene a workshop to discuss forming a Gull Working Group and to determine a) if a routine process for sharing gull population data can be established, b) if a future research agenda for population studies can be agreed upon, and c) if a common Geographic Information System (GIS) referenced database with colony status and historical gull population data might be established and how it could be used. Twelve gull biologists from Maine, Massachusetts and four Canadian provinces will be invited to participate in the two-day discussions. The discussion will be facilitated by Natalie Springuel of the Marine Extension Team. Formation of the Gull Working Group brings a coordinated international effort to bear on understanding gull population decline and the potential impact of this decline on the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

Sea Grant funds: $1,075