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Status and distribution of the Kittlitz's murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Kenai Fjords, Alaska

January 1, 2011

The Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris is a candidate species for listing under the US Endangered Species Act because of its apparent declines within core population areas of coastal Alaska. During the summers of 2006-2008, we conducted surveys in marine waters adjacent to Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, to estimate the current population size of Kittlitz's and Marbled murrelets B. marmoratus and examine seasonal variability in distribution within coastal fjords. We also evaluated historical data to estimate trend. Based on an average of point estimates, we find the recent population (95% CI) of Kittlitz's Murrelet to be 716 (353-1080) individuals, that of Marbled Murrelet to be 6690 (5427-7953) individuals, and all Brachyramphus murrelets combined to number 8186 (6978-9393) birds. Within-season density estimates showed Kittlitz's Murrelets generally increased between June and July, but dispersed rapidly by August, while Marbled Murrelets generally increased throughout the summer. Trends in Kittlitz's and Marbled murrelet populations were difficult to assess with confidence. Methods for counting or sampling murrelets varied in early decades of study, while in later years there is uncertainty due to highly variable counts among years, which may be due in part to timing of surveys relative to the spring bloom in coastal waters of the Gulf of Alaska.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Status and distribution of the Kittlitz's murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Kenai Fjords, Alaska
DOI
Authors Mayumi L. Arimitsu, John F. Piatt, Marc D. Romano, Thomas I. van Pelt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Ornithology: Journal of Seabird Research and Conservation
Series Number
Index ID 70036284
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization