Effect of water clarity on the distribution of marine birds in nearshore waters of Monterey Bay, California

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Henkel, L. A. (2006). Effect of water clarity on the distribution of marine birds in nearshore waters of Monterey Bay, California. Journal of Field Ornithology, 77(2), 151-156. doi:10.1111/j.1557-9263.2006.00035.x
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TitleEffect of water clarity on the distribution of marine birds in nearshore waters of Monterey Bay, California
AuthorsL. Henkel
AbstractThe distribution of marine birds relative to water clarity was examined in the nearshore waters of Monterey Bay, California. I conducted nine at-sea surveys in 1999 and 2000 and simultaneously recorded water clarity and the density of five taxa of marine birds. Among plunge-divers, Forster's Terns (Sterna forsteri) occurred more frequently than expected over turbid water (<2.5 m Secchi depth) and, among pursuit-diving species, Brandt's Cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) occurred most often in the clearest water available (>5 m Secchi depth). Turbidity in Monterey Bay may be caused by suspended organic matter, including phytoplankton, during summer and fall. Forster's Tern may prefer such areas because small fish are likely to occur near this potential food source. Brandt's Cormorants probably rely on vision to catch fish near the bottom and turbid water may reduce available light and limit visual acuity. The distribution of Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), Western/Clark's Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis/clarkii), and Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) did not appear to be influenced by turbidity levels, indicating that some seabirds use marine habitats with a wide range of water clarities. ©2006 Association of Field Ornithologists.
JournalJournal of Field Ornithology
Date2006
Volume77
Issue2
Start page151
End page156
ISSN0273-8570
SubjectsAechmophorus, Aves, Brachyramphus, Brachyramphus marmoratus, Laridae, Pelecanus occidentalis, Phalacrocoracidae, Phalacrocorax penicillatus, Podicipedidae, Sterna forsteri
NoteCited By (since 1996):8, Marine Mammals, Birds & Turtles

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