Abundance and Productivity of Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) Off Central California During the 2020 and 2021 Breeding Seasons

Data Report 1157
Ecosystems Mission Area—Species Management Research Program
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
By: , and 



Marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) have been listed as “endangered” by the State of California and “threatened” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1992 in California, Oregon, and Washington. Information regarding marbled murrelet abundance, distribution, population trends, and habitat associations is critical for risk assessment, effective management, evaluation of conservation efficacy, and ultimately, to meet federal- and state-mandated recovery efforts for this species. During June–August 2020 and 2021, the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center continued previously established, long-term (1999–present), at-sea surveys to estimate abundance and productivity of marbled murrelets in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Zone 6 (San Francisco Bay to Point Sur in central California). The abundance estimated for the entire study area was 470 birds (95-percent confidence interval, 313–707 birds) in 2020 and 402 birds (95-percent confidence interval, 219–737 birds) in 2021. Estimated abundances for both years are comparable with most prior years of study. We estimated reproductive productivity (calculated as the hatch-year to after-hatch-year ratio) after date-correcting hatch-year and after-hatch-year counts to account for birds expected to be absent from the water while inland at nests. The date-corrected juvenile ratio was 0.018±0.011 standard error in 2020 and 0.041±0.024 standard error in 2021. We updated a comprehensive database of all Zone 6 marbled murrelet survey data since 1999 with 2020–21 data to allow scientists and managers to evaluate established survey methods and assess trends in abundance and productivity estimates.

Suggested Citation

Felis, J.J., Adams, J., Horton, C.A., Kelsey, E.C., and White, L.M., 2022, Abundance and productivity of Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) off central California during the 2020 and 2021 breeding seasons: U.S. Geological Survey Data Report 1157, 12 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/dr1157.

ISSN: 2771-9448 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments  
  • Abstract  
  • Introduction  
  • Methods  
  • Results  
  • Discussion  
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Abundance and productivity of Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) off central California during the 2020 and 2021 breeding seasons
Series title Data Report
Series number 1157
DOI 10.3133/dr1157
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description Report: vi, 12 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State California
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details