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Dr. Josh Adams is a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Western Ecological Research Center. He is the lead biologist in charge of the Seabird Studies program located at WERC's Santa Cruz Field Station. Dr. Adams' work focuses on understanding the distribution and abundance patterns of seabirds at sea, nesting biology, foraging ecology and conservation science. Dr. Adams' current studies are focused in the California Current and Hawaii.
- Avian Ecology
- Invasive Plant Ecology
- Migratory bird biology
- Remote sensing
- Telemetry (radio and/or satellite)
- Threatened and endangered species
- PhD, Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand 2011
- MSc, Marine Sciences, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California State University San Francisco 2004
- BA, Biology (Thesis Honors), University of California Santa Cruz 1992
PROFESSIONAL AND HONORARY SOCIETIES AND SCIENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEES
- Member Pacific Seabird Group (since 1992)
Science and Products
Together with Federal and non-profit partners, WERC's Josh Adams and team are using cutting-edge technology to study the range and population attendance patterns of the Ashy Storm-petrel, an elusive seabird found throughout a large portion of the California Coastal National Monument. Their research will inform management and conservation for this species and other seabirds that use California’...
Dr. Josh Adams and his science team at WERC study seabird health and support adaptive management by quantifying abundance patterns and behaviors associated with habitats at sea, where seabirds spend the overwhelming majority of their lives. Adams’s team also employs conservation science to support resource managers on land, where seabirds are obligated to nest. His group provides scientific...
Scientists at the Santa Cruz Field Station study sea otters and seabirds in their environment. The USGS Western Ecological Research Center has two research missions based in the Santa Cruz region:
Collision and displacement vulnerability to offshore wind energy infrastructure among marine birds of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf
Marine birds are vulnerable to collision with and displacement by offshore wind energy infrastructure (OWEI). Here we present the first assessment of marine bird vulnerability to potential OWEI in the California Current System portion of the U.S. Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (POCS). Using population size, demography, life history,...Kelsey, Emily C.; Felis, Jonathan J.; Czapanskiy, Max; Peresksta, David M.; Adams, Josh
Carotenoid-based skin ornaments reflect foraging propensity in a seabird, Sula leucogaster
Carotenoid-based ornaments are common signalling features in animals. It has long been proposed that such ornaments communicate information about foraging abilities to potential mates. However, evidence linking foraging with ornamentation is largely missing from unmanipulated, free-ranging populations. To investigate this relationship, we studied...Michael, Nathan P.; Torres, Roxana; Welch, Andreanna J.; Adams, Josh; Erandi Bonillas-Monge, Mario; Felis, Jonathan J.; Lopez-Marquez, Laura; Martínez-Flores, Alejandro; Wiley, Anne E.
Selective occupancy of a persistent yet variable coastal river plume by two seabird species
Advances in telemetry and modeling of physical processes expand opportunities to assess relationships between marine predators and their dynamic habitat. The Columbia River plume (CRP) attracts sooty shearwaters Ardenna grisea and common murres Uria aalge, but how seabirds respond to variability in plume waters is unknown. We...Phillips, Elizabeth M.; Horne, John K.; Adams, Josh; Zamon, Jeannette E.
Abundance and productivity of marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) off central California during the 2017 breeding season
Marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) have been listed as “Endangered” by the State of California and “Threatened” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1992 in California, Oregon, and Washington. Information regarding marbled murrelet abundance, distribution, population trends, and habitat associations is critical for risk assessment...Felis, Jonathan J.; Adams, Josh; Kelsey, Emily C.
Population-level plasticity in foraging behavior of western gulls (Larus occidentalis)
BackgroundPlasticity in foraging behavior among individuals, or across populations may reduce competition. As a generalist carnivore, western gulls (Larus occidentalis) consume a wide range of marine and terrestrial foods. However, the foraging patterns and habitat selection (ocean or land) of western gulls is not well understood, despite their...Shaffer, Scott A.; Cockerham, Sue; Warzybok, Pete; Bradley, Russell W.; Jahncke, Jaime; Clatterbuck, Corey A.; Lucia, Magali; Jelincic, Jennifer A.; Cassell, Anne L.; Kelsey, Emily; Adams, Josh
Plastic ingestion by Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes from Kure Atoll, Hawai'i: Linking chick diet remains and parental at-sea foraging distributions
We quantified the incidence (percentage of samples with plastic) and loads (mass, volume) of four plastic types (fragments, line, sheet, foam) ingested by Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes chicks raised on Kure Atoll, the westernmost Hawaiian colony. All 25 samples contained plastic, mostly in the form of foam and line. On average (± SD...Hyrenbach, K. David; Hester, Michelle M.; Adams, Josh; Titmus, Andrew J.; Michael, Pam; Wahl, Travis; Chang, Chih-Wei; Marie, Amarisa; Vanderlip, Cynthia
Data for calculating population, collision and displacement vulnerability among marine birds of the California Current System associated with offshore wind energy infrastructure
The U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center (USGS-WERC) was requested by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to create a database for marine birds of the California Current System (CCS) that would allow quantification and species ranking regarding vulnerability to offshore wind energy infrastructure (OWEI...Adams, Josh; Kelsey, Emily; Felis, Jonathan J.; Pereksta, David M.
Collision and displacement vulnerability among marine birds of the California Current System associated with offshore wind energy infrastructure
With growing climate change concerns and energy constraints, there is an increasing need for renewable energy sources within the United States and globally. Looking forward, offshore wind-energy infrastructure (OWEI) has the potential to produce a significant proportion of the power needed to reach our Nation’s renewable energy goal. Offshore wind...Adams, Josh; Kelsey, Emily C.; Felis, Jonathan J.; Pereksta, David M.
First steps for mitigating bycatch of Pink-footed Shearwaters Ardenna creatopus: Identifying overlap of foraging areas and fisheries in Chile
The Pink-footed Shearwater, Ardenna creatopus, is listed as in danger of extinction by Chile and under Annex 1 of ACAP, with an estimated global population of approximately 56,000 individuals. Incidental bycatch of this species in fisheries is thought to be an important cause in population decline (i.e. annual estimated mortality of >1000...Carle, Ryan; Felis, Jonathan J.; López, Verónica; Adams, Josh; Hodum, Peter; Beck, Jessie; Colodro, Valentina; Vega, Rodrigo; González, Andrés
Migratory routes and at-sea threats to Pink-footed Shearwaters
The Pink-footed Shearwater (Ardenna creatopus) is a seabird with a breeding range restricted to three islands in Chile and an estimated world population of approximately 56,000 breeding individuals (Muñoz 2011, Oikonos unpublished data). Due to multiple threats on breeding colonies and at-sea, Pink-footed Shearwaters are listed as Endangered by...Adams, Josh; Felis, Jonathan J.; Hodum, Peter; Colodro, Valentina; Carle, Ryan; López, Verónica
Identifying Kittlitz's Murrelet nesting habitat in North America at the landscape scale
The Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a small, non-colonial seabird endemic to marine waters of Alaska and eastern Russia that may have experienced significant population decline in recent decades, in part because of low reproductive success and terrestrial threats. Although recent studies have shed new light on Kittlitz's...Felis, Jonathan J.; Kissling, Michelle L.; Kaler, Robb S.A.; Kenney, Leah A.; Lawonn, Matthew J.
Ashy Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma homochroa mist-netting and capture rates in the California Channel Islands, 2004–2007
The California Channel Islands (CCI) provide essential nesting habitat for a significant portion of the world’s Ashy Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma homochroa (ASSP) breeding population, but true abundance at this locality is not well known. Land-based nocturnal mistnetting has been conducted sporadically in the CCI since 1976, with variation in...Adams, Josh
In the featured photo, WERC scientists search for potential nesting habitat of seabirds like the Ashy Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) on False Klamath Rock off the coast of California.
In the future of wildlife tracking, sea otters have their own social network.