A project of Albatross Conservation Collaborative.
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Species: Black-footed Albatross
Life Stage: class 3 plumage
Release Date: 2005-07-20 11:43:00
Release Location: Cordell Bank
Last Location: 2005-08-11 07:45:55
Kate & Mike Dunbar
Zephyr stopped transmitting locations on August 11, only 23 days after being tagged. The continuously operating transmitter was expected to last for up to 50 days, and the voltage readings during the last day of transmission indicate that the batteries had not been exhausted. Therefore, it is likely that Zephyr shed the transmitter prematurely, when he molted his back feathers. Albatrosses replace their wing and body feathers during their post-breeding dispersal at-sea.
Because pelagic longline fisheries targetting tuna / swordfish cannot operate within the West Coast U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, it is very unlikely that Zephyr was a casualty of fisheries bycatch. Nevertheless, gillnet and demersal longline fisheries operate along central California shelf waters. No albatross bycatch in coastal gillnet fisheries has been recorded off California - Oregon - Washington. However, little is known about impacts from demersal longline fleets targetting groundfish.
The "Exploring Albatross Movements" program seeks to assess the conservation status of the Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), during the post-breeding dispersal period (from July to October) in the North Pacific Ocean.
We tag albatross at-sea within the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, off central California, and use satellite tracking and remote sensing imagery to identify important foraging grounds and habitats defined by seafloor depth and water properties (e.g., sea surface temperature, ocean productivity).
Within this larger context, this research addresses four priorities:
(i) to characterize albatross use of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS), a famous albatross hotspot off central California
(ii) to provide needed information on albatross habitats and movements within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z.)
(iii) to enhance the understanding of the foraging grounds and the movements of this threatened species across the North Pacific Ocean
(iv) to assess the overlap of post-breeding albatrosses with North Pacific pelagic longline fisheries operating within their foraging range