Seabird Health Program

Common Murres at necropsy illustrating types of human-related mortality: entanglement and oiling   Common Murres at necropsy illustrating types of human-related mortality: entanglement and oiling

Common Murres examined during systematic necropsy, illustrating examples of human-related mortality: entanglement and oiling.

Background information

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Seabird Health Program provides a regional information center regarding marine bird mortality events for federal, state, and local resource managers and is based out of California Department of Fish and Game Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Marine Wildlife and Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz.

Marine birds are important indicators of marine ecosystem health as their abundance and mortality can provide indication of natural (such as changes in forage fish abundance) and human-related (chronic oiling, entanglement) changes in the coastal marine ecosystem. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Seabird Health Program was established in 2016. Our objectives are to design and conduct studies to investigate and monitor the health and pathology of marine birds to support the best achievable care of oiled wildlife and detect emerging threats to seabird populations. We also develop and conduct investigations to monitor the effects of chronic and unusual oiling events, and maintain readiness to respond to oil spills affecting wildlife.

We work collaboratively to gather regional data from beach survey programs, rehabilitation centers, and state and federal agencies. During unusual mortality events, we conduct post-mortem examinations of seabirds and work in conjunction with regional, state, and national laboratories to identify cause of mortality.

Annual Reports

  • Seabird Program Annual Report 2016
  • Seabird Program Annual Report 2017
  • Seabird Program Annual Report 2018
  • Seabird Program Annual Report 2019
  • Seabird Program Annual Report 2020

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Gibble, C.M., R.M. Kudela, S. Knowles, B. Bodenstein, K.A. Lefebvre. 2021. Domoic acid and saxitoxin in seabirds in the US between 2007-2018. Harmful Algae. 103:101981. 
  • Beck, J., P. Michael, M. Hester, H. Nevins, E. Donnelly-Greenan, C.M. Gibble, E. Phillips, C. Young, S. Fitzgerald. 2020. Seasonal variation of Pacific Northern Fulmar bycatch: implications for age and sex-specific mortality. Fisheries Oceanography. 2020;00:1–11.
  • Gibble, C.M. and Hoover, B.A., 2018. Interactions between Seabirds and Harmful Algal Blooms. In: S.E. Shumway, J.M. Burkholder, S.L. Morton (Eds.), Harmful Algal Blooms. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, pp. 223-242.
  • Gibble, C.M., Duerr, R., Bodenstein, B., Lindquist, K., Lindsey, J., Beck, J., Henkel, L., Roletto, J., Harvey, J. Kudela, R. 2018. Investigation of a largescale common murre (Uria aalge) mortality event in California in 2015. J. Wildl. Dis. 54(3), 569-574.

Contact Information

Laird Henkel
Email: Laird.Henkel@wildlife.ca.gov
Phone: (831) 469-1726

Last update : 7/30/2021 1:19:13 PM

Contact Us

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)
1416 9th Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 445-0411 for General CDFW Information

Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 375-8580 for OSPR Information

Report Oil Spills
(800) 852-7550 or (800) OILS-911

Email OSPR | Email Web Editor | Office Locations

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Instagram  Flickr