OOS 50 - Using Community and Ecosystem Knowledge to Inform Restoration Goals of Seabird-Dominated Ecosystems

Friday, August 7, 2009: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Galisteo, Albuquerque Convention Center
Wendy B. Anderson, Drury University
Hillary Young, Harvard University
Hillary Young, Harvard University
Seabird populations provide a strong indicator of marine and island ecosystem health. The introduction of non-native predators to seabird colonies has contributed to the widespread decline of seabirds and to the disruption of ecosystems and communities where colonies have historically existed. Efforts to remove introduced predators and to restore seabird colonies have recently received increased funding and allocation of human resources. However, restoration goals are often not guided by basic ecological knowledge of the islands’ or seabird colonies’ unique ecosystems and communities. Simply restoring seabird numbers to an area after predator eradication may not be a sustainable solution if broader ecosystem processes and complex community structures are not also restored. In all seabird systems, seabirds act as vectors of marine nutrients, which influence terrestrial ecosystems and communities in different ways based on precipitation patterns and identity of dominant vegetation. Some seabird species also generate substantial belowground or aboveground physical disturbance. Both the nutrient loading and the disturbance regimes interact to create feedbacks within terrestrial communities, which may influence the success of seabird colony reestablishment. Plant life history traits, plant community composition and richness, and number and behavior of consumers all respond to the presence of seabirds, and, in some cases, facilitate seabird success. As we attempt to restore sustainable ecosystems in these historically bird dominated habitats we will need to have a more holistic approach to restoration that does not focus on a single metric, such as bird numbers, and that builds upon a broad and integrated understanding of the many ecosystem processes affected. This Organized Oral Session aims 1) to synthesize historical and current studies of the complex effects of seabirds on ecosystem processes, with a focus on cross-system comparisons and identification of global patterns; 2) to understand how ecosystem processes are disturbed when seabird predators are introduced, identifying unique effects among different groups of predators and seabirds; 3) to identify appropriate ecosystem restoration goals and effective methods for achieving these goals; and 4) to explore other global threats that challenge both natural and restored seabird ecosystems. The session will culminate in a panel discussion.
8:00 AM
 Global trends of seabird impacts on soil and plant chemistry
Christa Mulder, University of Alaska Fairbanks
8:20 AM
 The effect of cormorants on the plant-arthropod food web on their nestinf islands
Gundula S. Kolb, University of Stockholm; Peter A Hambäck, University of Stockholm
8:40 AM
 Global trends of seabird impacts on plant community composition
Julie Ellis, Tufts University; Peter J. Bellingham, Landcare Research; D. Alexander Wait, Missouri State University
9:00 AM
 Global trends of seabird impacts on terrestrial and near shore food webs
James Russell, University of Auckland; Hillary Young, Harvard University
9:20 AM
 Eradication of introduced seabird predators and restoration of island ecosystems
Bernie R. Tershy, University of California, Santa Cruz; Donald, A. Croll, University of California, Santa Cruz; Stacey, L. Buckelew, Island Conservation; Kelly, M. Newton, University of California, Santa Cruz
9:40 AM
9:50 AM
 Seabirds and seabird islands as indicators of global change
Mel Durrett, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Wendy B. Anderson, Drury University; Christa Mulder, University of Alaska Fairbanks
10:10 AM
 Proliferation of coconut palm interrupts marine subsidies to tropical forests with important implications for terrestrial food-webs
Hillary Young, Harvard University; Douglas McCauley, University of California at Santa Barbara; Rodolfo Dirzo, Stanford University
10:30 AM
 Use of long term vegetation census data to inform restoration methods and processes of community ecology on a barrier island
Elise S. Gornish, University of California, Davis; Thomas E. Miller, Florida State University
10:50 AM
 Initial community structure and seed bank potential for the restoration of maritime forest
Sheri A. Shiflett, Virginia Commonwealth University; Julie C. Naumann, Virginia Commonwealth University; Donald R. Young, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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