We conducted pelagic seabird surveys in the Gambier and Tuamotu Archipelagos in the southeastern Pacific Ocean totaling 40 hours during 7-27 March 2003 and 22.5 hours during 22-27 July 2001. We used a 300-m-wide strip transect to estimate seabird density, and we estimated relative abundance of birds at all distances. In 2001, we observed a total of 326 birds of 18 species. The mean relative abundance of all birds was 14.3 ?? 3.1/h. Red-footed Booby Sula sula was the most abundant species (5.6/h), followed by White Tern Gygis alba (3.4/h), and Great Crested or Swift Tern Sterna bergii (1.2/h). In 2003, we observed a total of 1463 birds of 25 species. The mean relative abundance of all birds was 36.6 ?? 11.4/h and the mean density of all birds was 4.14 ?? 0.72/km2. Brown Noddy Anous stolidus was the most abundant species (17.6/h, 1.5/km2), followed by White Tern (8.4/h, 1.3/km2), and Red-footed Booby (4.6/h, 0.8/km2). Several globally or locally rare species were observed infrequently, including Phoenix Petrel Pterodroma alba (0.1/h, 0.03/km2). Distribution of birds was uneven, with long periods of no birds punctuated by occasional feeding flocks. In 2003, species diversity was related to length of observation period, with more species observed on longer segments (r2 = 0.58, F1.5 = 6.03, P = 0.05). Although the duration and extent of our surveys were limited, these data are valuable because little published information is available on pelagic seabirds in southeastern Polynesia.
Additional publication details
Pelagic seabird surveys in the Tuamotu and Gambier Archipelagos, French Polynesia
Pacific Seabird Group
Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB