Atlas of Breeding Seabirds of the Main Hawaiian Islands

Science Center Objects

The seabird research team at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center is working with many partners to generate an atlas of breeding seabirds of the main Hawaiian islands.

Brown booby with chick

Brown booby (Sula leucogaster) with chick. (Credit: Jonathan Felis, USGS. Public domain.)

Under its clean energy initiative, the state of Hawaiʻi is striving for 100% renewable energy by 2045. The ocean surrounding Hawaiʻi is characterized by sustained trade winds that have generated interest for developing potential offshore wind energy infrastructure. Native Hawaiian seabirds spend the vast majority of their lives at sea and use these waters for foraging, resting, and commuting. When on land, many Hawaiian seabirds are concentrated at colonies located throughout the main islands, where they face threats from invasive species, introduced predators, and human disturbance.

Because federal, state, and local resource managers lack comprehensive, easily available data to map current seabird colony locations and breeding population sizes throughout the main Hawaiian Islands, the USGS Western Ecological Research Center is working with many partners to generate an Atlas of Breeding Seabirds of the Main Hawaiian Islands. The atlas will provide benchmarks to measure future changes in seabird population sizes and breeding distribution and will also assist efforts to evaluate threats to seabirds both on land and at sea.

Collaborators include:

Credit Jonathan Felis, USGS for banner photo of Red-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda).