ALAR Research Protocols

The Atlantic Laboratory of Avian Research (ALAR – previously known as ACWERN), at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) began a long-term seabird monitoring and research program on Machias Seal Island (MSI), New Brunswick, in the spring of 1995.

Initially, as part of the research for K.D. Amy’s M.Sc. at UNB, field methods were employed that were acquired from a variety of sources, such as previous work experience on other seabird projects, personal communications with seabird authorities, colleagues in the Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group (GOMSWG) and literature. These methods have been refined subsequently to increase efficiency and minimize disturbance to the birds. For the sake of year-to-year comparisons, it is important that a long-term monitoring program use the same methods each year. Therefore the primary purpose of this document is to provide details of the methods which have been developed for this specific field site and its seabirds.

Seabird Research and Monitoring on Machias Seal Island RESEARCH AND LOGISTICS PROTOCOLS is divided into three general sections.

Section A is dedicated to preparation for the field season on MSI. It includes a description of the island, some brief history and some directions on how to prepare before the field season.

Section B provides the research protocols that will be followed while collecting data on MSI. This section is subdivided according to species. It also includes additional sections which deal with collecting environmental data and other research activities. You should familiarize yourself with this section before going into the field.

Section C addresses post-field season activities. This section’s primary goal is to provide some direction and instruction on how to analyze and interpret the collected data, which will be presented in the annual MSI Report.

Large sections of this document were incorporated from previous versions of the MSI protocol and future versions will likely draw heavily on this one. Although not listed here, numerous individuals have contributed over the years to establishing appropriate guidelines for the research on MSI and have spent many hours documenting proper methods. Their hard work is greatly appreciated.

The current version is particularly indebted to extensive revisions by Travis Clarke, Kirsten Bowser, Lauren Scopel and Kevin Kelly.