Shy albatross on Albatross Island
Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 5 July 2018.
Applicant: University of Tasmania
Species/Taxon: Shy albatross Thalassarche cauta
Location: Albatross Island, Nature Reserve.
Title of research: The effect of climate variability on shy albatross populations and conservation under climate change.
Aim of project: The project aims to understand the influence of climate variability and change on shy albatross populations, and to use this knowledge in developing climate adaptation tools for their conservation. The outcome of this project will be a quantitative model of species performance that can be used to test management options and guide decision making. To build this model I need to understand climate drivers of trends observed on the colony but also, climate conditions the birds experience at sea and how they affect foraging and breeding success.
This application is to deploy up to 50 feather-mounted telemetry devices on shy albatross over the next three years to contribute to an existing time-series of tracking data collected by DPIPWE since 1992. I will analyse this long-term tracking dataset to determine the influences of climate while shy albatross are at sea.
Justification: This project will provide an increased understanding of the relationships between threatened shy albatross and two key anthropogenic stressors they face within their marine environment: fisheries bycatch and climate variation. This has direct implications for conservation and management.
Quantifying the interactions allows us to model more accurately how the population is likely to respond under different climate and management scenarios. Importantly, the ability to make predictions into the future provides the opportunity to investigate potential options to enhance population resilience or offset negative impacts. In addition, these planned deployments will allow us, for the first time, to uncover where shy albatross forage over the non-breeding period. This is a critical time for seabirds as they must obtain sufficient resources for successful breeding. Therefore, the non-breeding period represents a significant knowledge gap for conservation and management of this threatened species.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: 50
Activities undertaken and methods: Feather-mounted telemetry devices will be attached to the mantle (upper back) feathers of shy albatross to track foraging behaviour at-sea.
Fate of animals: Animals are left in-situ to undertake normal behaviour. Devices are removed or fall off when bird moults, within a couple of months.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): No evidence of these lightweight devices causing significant impact.