Jump to species:

Printer friendly

Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris)

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has supported and led several recent and ongoing Kittlitz’s murrelet research projects.

  • In 2003–2006 Fish and Game funded a study to determine potential causes of the reported decline in Kittlitz’s murrelet in Glacier Bay. A M.Sc. these was published detailing the effects and impacts of vessel activity on Kittlitz’s murrelet in Glacier Bay (see thesis (PDF 420 kB)).
  • In 2004–2007 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted surveys of Kittlitz’s and marbled murrelets in Kachemak Bay with funding from Fish and Game. See the final report (PDF 3,627 kB) submitted to Fish and Game for more information.
  • In 2007 Fish and Game biologists conducted a survey of marbled and Kittlitz’s murrelets in Glacier in an effort to determine the best methods to use in the field to avoid biased sampling.
  • In 2008 Fish and Game biologists surveyed Icy Strait for both marbled and Kittlitz’s murrelets throughout the summer, including conducting shore-based flyway counts to determine the magnitude of movement by these species into and out of Glacier Bay and Icy Strait.
  • In 2009 and 2010 Fish and Game biologists partnered with Audubon Alaska to survey marbled and Kittlitz’s murrelets in Glacier Bay utilizing the same methods used by U.S. Fish and Wildlife researchers in 1992 in order to determine a relative population size estimate. For more information, see Missing Murrelet Mystery Seabird Research in Glacier Bay and Spatial and Temporal Variation of Kittlitz’s and Marbled Murrelets in Glacier Bay (PDF 101 kB).
  • Since 2002 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service have studied Kittlitz’s murrelets in Icy Bay. Telemetry is used to track the birds’ movements and identify feeding and nesting locations. Researchers are also banding the Kittlitz’s murrelets, monitoring behavior and predation, and collecting biological samples for genetic and contaminant analysis. Fish and Game was able to provide support in some years of this ongoing study. See Declining Populations Lead Scientists to Moonlight and Net-Wielding Researchers Catch Rare Seabirds for more information.
  • Fish and Game biologists completed a study examining the overlap between Kittlitz's murrelets and gill net fisheries in an effort to determine if murrelet bycatch in these fisheries could be a threat to this species. See the final report, Bycatch of Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) in commercial salmon gillnet fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska: A qualitative risk assessment (PDF 3,724 kB), for more information.
  • Fish and Game funded Alaska Biological Research, Inc. to conduct an assessment of trends estimates for Kittlitz’s Murrelet populations in Alaska determine the strength and comparability of the results. The final report, entitled "Evaluating Population Trends of Kittlitz’s Murrelets in Alaska" (PDF 1,253 kB), published in June 2011, describes weaknesses and strengths of past studies and gives recommendations for how surveys should be conducted and analyzed in the future.