Blue-footed Booby Population Decline Analysis

The innovative 2 year Blue-footed Booby study intends to enable the management and monitoring strategies to be put in place ensuring an accurate estimation on the present and forthcoming rate of population change concerning these vulnerable birds.

Blue-footed Booby © Alan Hickling The lack of information on breeding population size, and population size in general, is surprising given the high profile of these birds.  Early research identified two population colonies found on Daphne island ("some 1,000 pairs") and Espanola island ("around 500-800 pairs"). However one of the main issues with existing research is that the long-term consistent monitoring of the breeding population sizes have been constrained to these two colonies; neglecting research of Blue-footed Boobies existing elsewhere.

Although locals have noticed a remarkable reduction in the amount of Blue-footed Boobies, statistical population benchmarks are essential to gather important demographic information regarding the annual adult survival and reproductive success.  These parameters are necessary to create a population model that can estimate the population's rate of change.  

Virtually nothing is known about the foraging behaviour of breeding Blue-footed Boobies in Galapagos.  With the advent of small Global Positioning System (GPS) units, detailed tracks can be recorded in large numbers and provide invaluable data regarding foraging hotspots.  This technique will be used to develop an understanding of variable foraging constraints and short-term reproductive success.

Prof. Dave Anderson and David Anchundia have already released preliminary results where they have noted a shocking 50% decline in the population, with these results largely attributed to the low levels of reproduction. Take a look at the video below where Prof Dave Anderson along with his research colleague and Masters Student, David Anchundia, address their current findings. Supplementary information will also be updated as this project continues.

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