Aloha and Welcome

What We Do

The main goal of the BiOPs Network is to improve the health of the North Pacific Ocean by reducing the amount of plastic pollution entering the marine food webs. To this end, we are using seabirds and fish as biological samplers of litter at sea and quantifying changes in the amount and types of bio-available plastic pollution levels in the major oceanographic regions of the North Pacific Ocean.

In Hawai'i, our goal is to quantify the magnitude and impacts of pollution on seabirds in the Northwestern and the Main Hawaiian Islands.

Our research focuses on assessing the degree of plastic ingestion and pollutant loads in seabirds, and relating these pollutant loads to their age, overall health, condition and diet.

If you have any questions about this research, please contact us via email at:

seabirds "at" pelagicos "dot" net

Resources

 

Focal Species

Our study focuses on five locally-breeding species:

 

Wedge-tailed Shearwater

Ua'u kani

This small shearwater (Family: Procellariidae) nests underground in burrows built into sand banks and in crevices amidst lava rocks and rubble. Wedge-tailed shearwaters forage on flying fish and squid in association with tuna schools and ingest small (1 - 7 mm) fragments of plastic. We have obtained specimens of this species from SeaLife Park, in O'ahu, through permits from DLNR and USFWS.

(Download Species Information Sheet)

Laysan Albatross

Moli

Far-ranging albatross (Family: Diomedeidae) forage in the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands during the breeding season, and ingest large items and fragments of plastic, including toothbrushes and lighters, which they deliver to their chick at the colony. We have obtained samples of this species through permits from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

(Download Species Information Sheet)

Black-footed Albatross

Ka'upu

Far-ranging albatross (Family: Diomedeidae) travel to the west coast of North America to forage during the breeding season and ingest many types of marine debris, including line, foam, sheet and small fragments of user plastic, which they deliver to their chick back colony. We have obtained samples of this species through permits from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

(Download Species Information Sheet)

Tristram's (Sooty) Storm Petrel

The Tristram’s is a large storm-petrel (Family: Hydrobatidae) and ingests small (1 - 3 mm) plastic fragments. We have obtained samples of this species through permits from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

(Download Species Information Sheet)

Bonin Petrel

The Bonin Petrel is a poorly-studied small, burrow-nesting and nocturnal gadfly petrel (Family: Procellariidae). We have obtained samples of this species through permits from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

(Download Species Information Sheet)

 

These focal seabirds ingest a wide range of plastic items, ranging in size from a few mms (panel A; storm-petrels) to a few cms (panel B; albatrosses).

Note: the underlying yellow 1-cm grid, for scale.

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Last Modified: April, 2017