Prioritization of Restoration Needs for Seabirds in the U.S. Tropical Pacific

American Sāmoa | Wednesday, May 17 from 1:00-2:30 p.m.Hawaiʻi | Wednesday, May 17 from 2:00-3:30 p.m.Palau | Thursday, May 18 from 9:00-10:30 a.m.CNMI & Guam | Thursday, May 18 from 10:00-11:30 a.m.FSM | Thursday, May 18 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. (Weno) / 11:00 am-12:30 p.m. (Palikir)RMI | Thursday, May 18 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

A Pacific RISCC Webinar via Zoom

Webinar overview:

A flyer promoting the Pacific RISCC May 2023 webinarClimate change and invasive species threaten seabirds in the U.S. Tropical Pacific. How should we prioritize management and what does active restoration look like?

May’s Pacific RISCC webinar will feature Dr. Lindsay Young, executive director of Pacific Rim Conservation.

Webinar Abstract:

The U.S. Tropical Pacific (USTP) is a globally important area for seabirds with tens of millions of individuals of at least 32 seabird species breeding in five geographic regions: the Main Hawaiian Islands, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The low-lying islands and atolls within this region are among the most vulnerable in the world to sea level rise.

This project assessed the risk of impacts from climate change and invasive species and prioritized active restoration actions for seabirds nesting in the USTP. Social attraction and translocation are active restoration techniques that can be applied to recover and relocate seabird populations to suitable breeding areas and are increasingly being used to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise and invasive predators.

To prioritize species at highest risk in the USTP that would benefit most from active restoration, we scored each species for each of 11 criteria that reflected their extinction risk and vulnerability to climate change, and then summed the scores of all criteria to obtain an overall score. We then used the overall score to rank species in terms of overall conservation need. The top five species at risk (in order) were Polynesian Storm Petrel, Phoenix Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Petrel, and Black-footed Albatross. While restoration activities are underway in the USTP for three of the five species, the top two (Polynesian Storm-petrel and Phoenix Petrel) occur primarily outside the USTP, but actions within the USTP are needed to complement existing conservation measures underway elsewhere in the Pacific and should be prioritized for future management actions.

Speaker details:

Dr. Lindsay Young is the Executive Director of Pacific Rim Conservation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and restoring native bird diversity, populations, and ecosystems in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Region. She did her Ph.D. at the University of Hawaiʻi focusing on the population genetics, foraging ecology, and conservation needs of Laysan Albatross. She has authored several dozen scientific papers, and she was one of the 2011 recipients of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards for her work on the Nihoa Millerbird Translocation.