Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Population and survival trends of Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) breeding on Macquarie Island

Aleks Terauds A B , Rosemary Gales B , G. Barry Baker C D and Rachael Alderman B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A University of Tasmania, Churchill Avenue, Sandy Bay, Tas. 7005, Australia.

B Biodiversity Conservation Branch, Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, PO Box 44, Hobart, Tas. 7000, Australia.

C Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tas. 7050, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: barry.baker@aad.gov.au

Emu 106(3) 211-218 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU06007
Submitted: 30 January 2006  Accepted: 11 July 2006   Published: 18 August 2006

Abstract

Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) are globally threatened owing to declines in populations, and the breeding population of Macquarie Island is particularly vulnerable as it comprises fewer than 20 breeding pairs. We describe population trends of Macquarie Island Wandering Albatrosses between 1955 and 2004, combining long-term population data with demographic data collected between 1995 and 2004. Rates of annual breeding effort and survival varied markedly over time and breeding numbers declined from a peak in 1968 to near extinction in the mid-1980s. Underlying this decline was a significant decrease in juvenile survival and, to a lesser extent, adult survival. These changes in survival coincided with changes in long-line fishing effort in the Southern Ocean. Breeding numbers slowly recovered on Macquarie Island through the late 1980s and 1990s, reaching a total of 19 breeding pairs in the mid-1990s. The population remained at about this level in 2004. Relative trends in numbers and survival in the population are similar to those observed in other populations in the Indian Ocean, including Marion Island and Iles Crozet.


Acknowledgments

This project was funded by the Australian Department of Environment and Heritage and the Antarctic Scientific Advisory Committee. Aleks Terauds was partially funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award through the University of Tasmania. Logistic support was provided by the Australian Antarctic Division, and the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment. The historical data were collected by many researchers and expeditioners since the 1950s and their contribution is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks also go to the staff from the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (Australian Department of Environment and Heritage), particularly to Belinda Dettmann, David Drynan and Lisa Hardy. Alastair Richardson and Nigel Brothers reviewed earlier versions of this manuscript. The submitted manuscript was also improved by comments from Geoff Tuck and an anonymous referee. Thanks also go to Camilla Myers who managed the editorial process most efficiently.


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