From 1990 to 2000, the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) incinerated part of the U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons on Johnston Atoll, central Pacific Ocean, which also is a National Wildlife Refuge and home to approximately a half-million breeding seabirds. The effect on wildlife of incineration of these weapons is unknown. Using a multi-strata mark-recapture analysis, we investigated the effects of JACADS on reproductive success, survival, and movement probabilities of red-tailed tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda) nesting both downwind and upwind of the incineration site. We found no effect of chemical incineration on these tropicbird demographic parameters over the 8 years of our study. An additional 3 years of monitoring tropicbird demography will take place, post-incineration.
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Effects of a chemical weapons incineration plant on red-tailed tropicbirds