Black-footed Albatrosses in top five seabirds requiring active conservation management in the U.S. Tropical Pacific

Wieteke Holzhausen MidwayA Black-footed Albatross with its chick on Midway Atoll: photograph by Wieteke Holthuijzen

Lindsay Young and Eric VanderWerf (Pacific Rim Conservation, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA) have published in the journal Pacific Science on the status of seabird populations vulnerable to climate change in the U.S. Tropical Pacific and conservation management activities most likely to benefit those species most at risk.

The paper’s abstract follows, 

“The U.S. Tropical Pacific (USTP) is a globally important area for seabirds with tens of millions of individuals of 32 species breeding in the region. The two greatest threats to breeding seabirds in the USTP are inundation of colonies caused by global climate change and non-native predators. We assessed the status of seabird species breeding in the USTP and which species would benefit most from restoration activities. We scored each species for nine criteria that reflected their extinction risk and vulnerability to climate change and invasive predators, then summed the scores of all criteria to obtain an overall score and ranked the species in terms of overall conservation need. The top five species at risk (in order) were Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli), Polynesian Storm-Petrel (Nesofregetta fuliginosa), Phoenix Petrel (Pterodroma alba), and Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes). We also assessed 86 locations in the USTP as potential source and restoration sites for seabirds to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise and invasive predators. Some restoration actions are underway for three of the top five species in the USTP, but more actions are needed. Two of the top species (Polynesian Storm-petrel and Phoenix Petrel) occur primarily outside the USTP. Actions within the USTP are needed to complement existing conservation measures underway elsewhere in the Pacific and should be prioritized for future management actions.”


Young, L.C., & VanderWerf, E.A. 2022. Prioritization of Restoration Needs for Seabirds in the U.S. Tropical Pacific Vulnerable to Climate Change. Pacific Science 76(3), 247-265.

10 February 2023

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