This week EEB welcomes Post-Doctoral Scholar Juliet Lamb from the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation and South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Clemson University:
Evaluating year-round seabird habitat needs in the Gulf of Mexico to improve oil pollution risk assessment and mitigation
In 2010, a blowout on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig released 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into sensitive marine and coastal ecosystems in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The aftermath of the disaster revealed a lack of baseline information on the ecology of sensitive coastal species in the region, particularly the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), one of the most frequent and visible victims of the spill. Data on the species’ habitat requirements, diet, and distribution were unavailable to aid in damage assessment and mitigation following Deepwater Horizon. At the same time, the Brown Pelican’s sensitivity to contaminants, as well as its distribution throughout coastal and marine habitats, make it an ideal umbrella species for understanding habitat needs and risk factors of understudied nearshore seabirds. I will present results from a project aimed to address data gaps and improve spill response by combining individual-based tracking of Brown Pelicans with habitat modeling, pollutants risk assessment, and dietary analysis. I will further discuss development of monitoring tools that can be used to rapidly assess the effects of environmental perturbations on nearshore seabirds.
The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. Light refreshments are served starting at 12:15.