Common Murre Reproductive Biology and Foraging Ecology 

Yaquina Head is home to 60,000 – 80,000 common murres during the breeding season – one of the largest murre colonies on the west coast.  The Bureau of Land Management manages the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, located only 6 miles from our marine lab here in Newport.  We have conducted research at this colony since 2007.  Between our studies and those conducted by Dr. Julia Parrish (University of Washington), we now have over a decade long time series at this site with hopes of continuing this long-term coastal research and monitoring program.  Our research here focuses on how changes in the marine environment affect murre reproductive success and foraging through “bottom-up”, food web processes, as well as “top-down” effects of  how predators, such as bald eagles, impact murre productivity and population dynamics.

This seabird colony is adjacent to the Newport Oceanographic sampling line and soon to be deployed Endurance ocean observing system array, providing a perfect opportunity for integrating upper trophic level predators into marine ecosystem studies off Oregon.  Yaquina Head also is a very popular public attraction viewed by over 150,000 visitors and school groups annually.

   

Collaborators:

Bureau of Land Management

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Publications and Reports:

Horton, C.A. and R.M. Suryan. 2012. California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus): A new disturbance source to breeding common murres (Uria aalge) in Oregon? Oregon Birds 38:84-88. 

Gladics, A.J., R.M. Suryan, R.D. Brodeur, L.M. Segui, L.Z. Filliger. 2014. Constancy and change in marine predator diets across a shift in oceanographic conditions in the Northern California Current. Marine Biology 161(4): 837-851, doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2384-4.

McClatchie et al. 2016. State of the California Current 2015-2016: Comparisons with the 1997-98 El Niño. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports 57:1-57

Leising et al. 2015. State of the California Current 2014-2015: Impacts of the warm-water “Blob”. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports 56:31-68.

Leising et al. 2014. State of the California Current: El Nino Looming. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports 55:51-87.

Wells et al. 2013. State of the California Current 2012-2013: No such thing as an “average” year. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports 54:37-71.

Bjorkstedt, E. et al. 2012. State of the California Current 2011–2012: Ecosystems respond to local forcing as La Niña wavers and wanes. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Report 53:41-76.

Suryan, R.M. et al. 2007-2016.  Yaquina Head Seabird Colony Monitoring.  End of season summary report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management. LINK TO PDFs, 20072009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. 2015, 2016