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August 5, 2020

A story map, developed by the National Park Service, is based on a published article by John Piatt, Sarah Schoen and Mayumi Arimitsu at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center in collaboration with 20 coauthors from the USFWS, NPS, NOAA, UW, and other research organizations. It describes the massive seabird die-off in the north Pacific and the research findings on this even

About three quarters of all U.S. seabirds nest in Alaska. That equates to approximately 150 million seabirds across 38 species. An extreme marine heatwave in the north Pacific Ocean began in late 2013 and lasted through the winter of 2016. It was the largest heatwave on record, a record that spans more than 150 years, and was linked to an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Common Murres dying of starvation from the Gulf of Alaska and hundreds of thousands more off the coast of California. 

The work presented here is the result of partnerships across the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Kawerak, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Ecosystem Conservation Office, and university and nonprofit researchers and citizen scientists through the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST).

Story Map: How Marine Heatwaves are Changing Ocean Ecosystems


Citation: Piatt, J. F., J. K. Parrish, H. M. Renner, S. K. Schoen, T. T. Jones, M. L. Arimitsu, K. J. Kuletz, B. Bodenstein, M. Garcia-Reyes, R. S. Duerr, R. M. Corcoran, R. S. A. Kaler, G. J. McChesney, R. T. Golightly, H. A. Coletti, R. M. Suryan, H. K. Burgess, J. Lindsey, K. Lindquist, P. M. Warzybok, J. Jahncke, J. Roletto, and W. J. Sydeman. 2020. Extreme mortality and reproductive failure of common murres resulting from the northeast Pacific marine heatwave of 2014-2016. PLOS ONE 15(1): e0226087. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0226087

Additional information about our science: Seabird Die-Offs in Alaska

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