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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Contaminant Levels in Seabirds from the Near Island Archipelago

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 07/01/2010
End Date 06/30/2011
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 09/25/2010 02:47AM
Keywords seabirds, contaminant

People

Faculty
  Douglas Causey

Student Researchers
  Brian Baker

Abstract

The Near Islands (Attu, Agattu, Shemya, Nizki-Alaid) are the most western group of islands in the Aleutian archipelago. Research suggests that seabird populations are decreasing in this island group, while they are more or less stable in the other regions of the archipelago. Recent and paleoenvironmental study of this region indicates anomalous patterns of bird and prey items compared to the rest of the Aleutians. Several studies have examined contaminant levels in seabirds and terrestrial birds from nearby Gulf of Alaska and the Central Aleutians but, contaminant levels have not been examined in seabirds from the Near Islands, far to the west. The first objective for my research is to establish background contaminants levels in tissues from seabirds collected in the Near Islands. Because research suggests the Near Islands are decoupled from other islands in the archipelago, and I expect that patterns of contamination will be different from other islands, my research project will also aim to distinguish the origin of contaminants in our study area. Contaminants data, combined with data collected by other students for these seabirds samples, will help scientists to better undertstand the population dynamics, trophic level status, physiology and reproductive fitness of these various species of
seabirds in the Near Islands. Such information can then be utilized in the conservation and management of these populations.

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