Will the “real” SEANET step forward?

9 01 2017

The Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (aka SEANET) was established in the fall of 2002 by the Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine / Wildlife Clinic. The network is comprised largely of volunteers that collect data on seabird mortality, population distribution, ocean contamination, and coastal land use that are stored in a SEANET GIS-based repository. This project sustains a long-term marine and coastal ecosystem health monitoring project using seabirds as sentinels, fostering participation by citizen scientists.

http://vet.tufts.edu/seanet/

seanet-logo

The “other” SEANET sites are:

(1)The Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network, or SEANET project is a National Science Foundation funded project to help scientists at the University of Maine explore how different types and scales of aquaculture fit into Maine’s multi-use working waterfront and the river ecosystem. The goal is to build a network of interdisciplinary researchers along the coast of Maine to help advance sustainable ecological aquaculture (SEA) and support marine STEM sciences in Maine’s K-12 curricula.

https://umaine.edu/seanet/

oterhseanet-logo

 

(2) SeaNet is a teaching tool for undergraduate students at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA. This is a guide to common marine invertebrates, seaweeds and fishes likely to be encountered on rocky shoresand kelp forests of Monterey Bay and central California.

http://seanet.stanford.edu/

 

(3) SeaNeT at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington is a portal for UNCW students.  This portal provides student access to UNCW information.

https://seanet.uncw.edu/TEAL/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage

the-other-seanetsotherseanet2

 

Depending on your affiliation, SEANET can mean different things to different people, but for “Seanetters” there is only one SEANET – the Seabird Ecological Assessment Network!

 

 





A time to celebrate & best wishes for 2017

15 12 2016

Let us celebrate the effort put forth by all the Seanetters in 2016 and make plans for 2017.   Wishing everyone happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

seanet-christmas-2016





Giving Thanks to SEANET Volunteers

23 11 2016

 

The effort put forth by SEANET volunteers is tremendous!  In this piece, I wanted to take a few moments to illustrate just what I mean when I say “SEANET volunteers are tremendous!”  The network of SEANET volunteers spread along the entire eastern seaboard are a group of dedicated volunteers that have amassed an incredible source of data on beached birds.  The following statistics are a testimony to my claim that SEANET volunteers are tremendous:

presentation1

The top six volunteers for the number of beach walks completed combined is over  1,800+ beach walks.

 

presentation2

The total number of beached birds found by the top six volunteers totals over 1,500+ beached birds.

presentation3

The most common beached bird encountered by SEANET volunteers is the Common Eider largely because of a disease (aka Wellfleet Disease) that has been reported from the Northeast.

These graphics tell the story of SEANET volunteers’ contributions to furthering our knowledge of birds in the marine environment. I for one am thankful for SEANET volunteers’ contributions individually and collectively. They are truly TREMENDOUS!

 

 





Ever heard the term Marine Debris?

6 10 2016

Many if not all Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) volunteers have come across marine debris during their beach walks. Simply put “Marine debris is any man-made, solid material that enters waterways directly through littering or indirectly via rivers, streams and storm drains. Marine debris can be simple items such as a discarded soda can, cigarette butt, or plastic bag that ends up in the ocean potentially harming marine life”. That last part” potentially harming marine life” is central to SEANET’s mission as a citizen science program that brings together interdisciplinary researchers and members of the public in a long-term collaborative effort to identify and mitigate threats to marine birds.

In my continuing attempt to spread the word about SEANET along the eastern seaboard, I was invited to speak about SEANET at a NOAA sponsored workshop on marine debris a few years back. Thus, began my exposure to the MARINE DEBRIS TRACKER program. This program hopes to spread awareness of marine debris, as well as serve as an easy to use and simple tool for marine debris data collection. With Marine Debris Tracker, it just takes a few seconds to  easily report where you find marine debris or litter anywhere in the world… and then prevent it from impacting our oceans.  A mobile app has been developed to promote the Marine Debris Tracker program.

The Marine Debris Tracker Mobile App >>      mdr_logo_fresh_cwithout-border-tws-128x127

“The Mobile App Marine Debris Tracker originated in 2010 from a joint partnership of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI), located within the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia.  The Marine Debris Tracker is currently available for iPhone and Android platforms. It is simple to use! Marine Debris Tracker is designed exactly for beach cleanup data collection. Instead of the paper data card you would normally use to mark items you find, you simply open the app on your phone, choose items from the list as you find them and log them. The list of items you found will be sent to the Marine Debris Tracker once you view and submit your data from that day”.

So what does it take to be a Marine Debris Tracker?

Try to pick a beach location that you can monitor regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) at the same general time. Then walk the same area (both horizontally and vertically) each time using Marine Debris Tracker to log (and hopefully picking up using gloves and a trash bag) the debris items that you find. You might want to make note of any major storm events or any other noticeable factors (wind, etc.) that might be influencing the debris that day. So, what does this remind you of? SEANET walks on the beach!!

To date, the Marine Debris Tracker program resulted in thousands of people logging and removing over THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION pieces of litter and debris all over the world!

In closing, I really like the Marine Debris Tracker’s slogan “Leave only waves and footprints behind…” So the next time you hear the term Marine Debris, think Marine Debris Tracker and spread the word!

marine-debri-tracker_sandwriting

 





News from the “other coast”, the Pacific Coast, on dying seabirds

23 08 2016

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, COASST, our “sister’ beached bird survey network on the West Coast detected an uptick in seabird deaths last month. In particular, they have experienced elevated numbers of dead Rhinoceros Auklets washing in to Salish Sea. Several news outlets have reported on the event. “About 300 rhinoceros auklets, which are closely related to puffins, have washed ashore since May. Julia Parrish, executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, says there’s no clear explanation”. “Scientists are looking into possible contagions or poisons, but if that were the case, Parrish said she would expect more to have washed up. She also said there could be a small algae bloom adding toxins to the auklets’ food supply”.

auklet                                                                                                                                                              Peter Hodum

Scientists are still trying to determine the cause behind a die-off of rhinoceros auklets.

In addition to COASST, the British Columbia Beach Bird Survey is recording any dead auklets found nearby on the Canadian shores as well.

The beached bird survey network in North America consists of the COASST, British Columbia Beached Bird Survey and Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET).  These three largely volunteer, citizen-based surveys are in many cases the only early warning systems for detecting abnormal mortality events in North American seabirds.  As recently evidenced by the abnormal auklet die-off last month that was detected by COASST volunteers along the West Coast, the warning system was in play.  For this and many other reasons, my “hats off” to all the North American beached bird survey volunteers!





Dead Bird Quiz Answers

13 07 2016

Thank you to Wouter and sjcourchesne (aka our very own Seanet Project Coordinator!) for their answers suggesting Birds A & B are both Herring Gulls. As a couple veteran Dead Bird Quiz “experts”, I proceeded to pick up my copy of the Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States ( https://seanetters.wordpress.com/shop/beached-bird-guides/) and opened to the section on gull identification (pages 91-103) to cross-examine their answers.

Bird A:WB_13a  5-10-16(2)

Herring Gull (Juvenile)

Based on the wind chord alone (measured as 45 cm, please excuse my error in the original blog in which I stated the wind chord to be 45 mm!) , this bird falls in the range of Herring Gull and outside the reported wind chord ranges for other likely candidates ( e.g. Laughing Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull and Ring-Billed Gull).  As for Adult or juvenile, the black band on the tail feathers is indicative of a juvenile ( or possibly a sub-adult, but the bird has been scavenged and we only have a ventral view). Note: Adults have all white tail rectrices.

Bird B:unknown2

Herring Gull (Sub-Adult)

Based on the wind chord alone (measured as 43 cm, once again-please excuse my error in the original blog in which I stated the wind chord to be 43 mm!), this bird falls in the range of Herring Gull and outside the reported wind chord ranges for other likely candidates ( e.g. Laughing Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull and Ring-Billed Gull).  This dorsal view shows a grayish back coloration, some brown speckling and darker bill (Adults have yellow bills).  This plumage is indicative of a sub-adult (likely aged 2-3 years).

I think this quote sums it up nicely “And, yet, if you know gulls, you know that gulls in summer–bleached, battered, and blasted by sun and surf–are perhaps the greatest ID challenge for American birders” by Ted Floyd in his aba blog entitled “The Most Evil Photo Quiz Ever” at http://blog.aba.org/author/ted-floyd

Well, there you have it. I too agree with Wouter and sjcourchesne that Birds A & B are Herring Gulls!  Thanks to all that read and pondered this Dead Bird Quiz. Until our next Dead Bird Quiz……….

 





Long overdue Dead Bird Quiz

5 07 2016

Time has slipped by so fast for me recently. And while I was on vacation last week, I was thinking about how long it has been since I have posted to the SEANET Blog.  So, my first thought is that we are well overdue for another Dead Bird Quiz (DBQ).  So, here goes:

The first bird (Bird A) was found on May 10, 2016 on a Massachusetts beach.  Additional details are as follows:

Wing chord 45.0 mm
Tarsus 81.0 mm

WB_13a  5-10-16(2)

Bird A: found on Massachusetts beach in May 2016.

The second bird  (Bird B) was found on May 5, 2016 on a South Carolina beach.  Additional details are as follows:

Wind chord 43.0 mm
Culmen 55.0 mm
Tarsus 69.0 mm
unknown2
Bird B: Found on a South Carolina Beach in May 2016