The effect of chemical weapons incineration on the survival rates of Red-tailed Tropicbirds

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In 1992, the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) began incinerating U.S. chemical weapons stockpiles on Johnston Atoll (Pacific Ocean) where about 500,000 seabirds breed, including Red-tailed Tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda). We hypothesized that survival rates of birds were lower in those nesting downwind of the incinerator smokestack compared to those upwind, and that birds might move away from the area. From 1992 - 2000 we monitored survival and movements between areas upwind and downwind from the JACADS facility. We used a multi-strata mark recapture approach to model survival, probability of recapture and movement. Probability of recapture was significantly higher for birds in downwind areas (owing to greater recapture effort) and thus was an important 'nuisance' parameter to take into account in modeling. We found no differences in survival between birds nesting upwind ( 0.8588) and downwind (0.8550). There was no consistent difference in movement rates between upwind or downwind areas from year to year: differences found may be attributed to differing vegetation growth and human activities between the areas. Our results suggest that JACADS has had no documentable influence on the survival and year to year movement of Red-tailed Tropicbirds.
Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The effect of chemical weapons incineration on the survival rates of Red-tailed Tropicbirds
Year Published 2001
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 168
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title Abstracts of papers presented at the 119th stated meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union in conjunction with the 20th annual meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists Societe des Ornithologistes du Canada 16 - 18 August at the University of Washington, Seattle
First page 145 abstra
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