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Pacific WildLife Foundation Expeditions

The Pacific WildLife Foundation undertakes expeditions for research and education purposes. Our marine expeditions resulted in documenting the distribution of nesting black oystercatchers, investigating and filming bears at a salmon river, counting birds for a bird atlas, leading a team of Dutch faculty and staff to a salmon river, and traveling the Salish Sea to make a documentary film on nature and society.

 

Some Recent Achievements

The Important Cetacean Area (ICA) program was a first for the world. The project developed by Pacific WildLife in collaboration with cetacean biologists identified a network of important places for cetaceans along British Columbia and southeast Alaska. The results will be useful in identification of marine protected areas. This project was led by Jim Darling and Rob Butler of Pacific WildLife.  

 

Endangered Species Assessment

Pacific WildLife’s Dan Esler and Eric Anderson along with principal author Rian Dickson wrote the COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Western Grebe in Canada in 2014.

 

Oil Spill Recovery

Although the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred more than two decades ago, scientists have continued to evaluate long-term effects of the spill on the ecosystem of Prince William Sound, Alaska.  One of those scientists is Pacific WildLife Fellow Dan Esler, who has studied population recovery of sea ducks from the spill since 1994.  This work has shown that harlequin ducks and Barrow’s goldeneyes - two sea ducks that winter along the coast where they eat benthic invertebrates - were particularly vulnerable to chronic effects of the spill.  Dr. Esler showed that these sea ducks continued to be exposed to residual oil found in intertidal sediments on some beaches through 2005 and 2011, respectively.  The most recent data show that exposure has finally ceased, and both species have been declared as recovered. The Pacific WildLife Foundation has been involved this work, through funding from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.  These findings have proven relevant for issues along the coast of British Columbia; for example, they were raised during hearings regarding the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal.

 

Farms and Waterfowl

How land is used can have a big effect on waterfowl. Studies showed that waterfowl avoided certain types of land use which impacts the amount of suitable habitat on the Fraser River Delta, British Columbia. The results have been used in land use planning in the delta. This project was the topic of Associate Dr. Holly Middleton’s doctoral thesis.

 

The Migratory Shorebird Project  

The migration of shorebirds across the western hemisphere is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. The Pacific Coast of North America is a major migratory route for millions of shorebirds that spend the winter in South America, Central America, Mexico and western North America. Their survival is dependent on sandy beaches, bays, wetlands, mangroves and farmlands. This ambitious 10-year, multi-partner research project will help guide shorebird conservation in the Americas. Rob Butler and Pete Davidson are on the Steering Committee of this project.

 

Goldeneye Migration

The north Pacific Coast is the winter destination for most of the world’s Barrow’s goldeneyes. Tagged birds tracked over 1-2 annual cycles and yielded the following general information: adult birds bred over a vast region in south-central British Columbia concentrating around the Kamloops area, males migrated as far as the Northwest Territories to molt with some individuals using an important lake in northern Alberta (Cardinal Lake), and most adult birds returned to Indian Arm to overwinter indicating a high level of site fidelity. This last finding has important management and conservation implications.

 

British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas

The atlas project mapped the distribution and abundance of over 300 species of breeding birds in British Columbia. The results will form the foundation for government conservation policy, as well as environmental assessments, endangered species protection, climate change effects, and academic research for years to come. Pacific WildLife was one of the partner organizations of this important project. 

 

 

 Pacific WildLife Foundation Publications

 

Butler, R.W., A. Couturier and E. Dickson. 2015. Status and distribution of marine birds and mammals in Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm, 2011-13. Pacific WildLife Foundation & Bird Studies Canada report.

 

Butler, R.W., A. Couturier, E. Jenkins and C. McKenzie. 2015. New Westminster Breeding Bird Atlas 2012-13. British Columbia Birds 25: 17-39.

 

Butler, R.W., R. MacVicar and R. Foster. 2011. Attempts to restore eelgrass (Zostera marina) in Port Moody Inlet, British Columbia. Pacific WildLife Foundation Technical Report 1, Port Moody, B.C. 

 

Butler, R.W., A. Couturier, E. Jenkins and C. McKenzie. 2015. New Westminster Breeding Bird Atlas 2012-13. British Columbia Birds 25: 17-39.

 

Butler, RW and RS MacVicar. 2013. Field Observations of Gray Whales in Boundary Bay, British Columbia 1991-2012. Pacific WildLife Foundation Technical Report Number 2.

 

Butler, RW and TE Golumbia. 2008. Status of Breeding Black Oystercatchers, Haematopus bachmani, In the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Northwest Naturalist 89:37-40.

 

Butler, RW, RM MacVicar and JD Darling. 2010. Pacific Wildlife. Pacific WildLife Foundation. A book celebrating our 30th anniversary available at blurb.com

 

Byington, J and JD Darling. 2009. Clayoquot Sound gray whale fluke identification catalogue 2006-2007-2008. Pacific WildLife Foundation. View

 

Byington, J and JD Darling. 2010. Clayoquot Sound humpback whale fluke identification catalogue 1995-2009. Pacific WildLife Foundation. View

 

Darling, JD. 2009. Hawaii’s Humpbacks: Unveiling the mysteries. Granville Island Publishing, Vancouver, BC.

 

Davidson, P, et al. 2010. Status and Distribution of Marine Birds and Mammals in the Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia. Bird Studies Canada and Pacific WildLife Foundation and Bird Studies Canada. Pacific WildLife Foundation Technical Report Number 1.

Jones, I. M. 2006. A northeast Pacific offshore killer whale (Orcinus orca) feeding on a Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). Marine Mammal Science 22: 198–200.

 

Darling, JD. 2009. Hawaii’s Humpbacks: Unveiling the mysteries. Granville Island Publishing, Vancouver, BC.

 

Davidson, P, et al. 2010. Status and Distribution of Marine Birds and Mammals in the Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia. Bird Studies Canada and Pacific WildLife Foundation and Bird Studies Canada. Pacific WildLife Foundation Technical Report Number 1.

 

Frasier, T.R., S. M. Koroscil, B.N. White, and J. D. Darling. 2011. Assessment of population substructure in relation to summer feeding ground use in the eastern North Pacific gray whale. Endangered Species Research 14: 39-48.

 

Jardine, C.B., A.L. Bond, P.J.A. Davidson, R.W. Butler, and T. Kuwae. 2015. Biofilm consumption and variable diet composition of Western Sandpipers (Calidris mauri) during migratory stopover. PLoS One. (April 14, 2015).

 

Jones, I. M. 2006. A northeast Pacific offshore killer whale (Orcinus orca) feeding on a Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). Marine Mammal Science 22: 198–200.

 

Jones, I.M. 2009. Associative nesting behaviour between Pacific great blue herons and bald eagles in the Pacific Northwest: testing the predator protection hypothesis. MSc thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Jones, I.M., R.W. Butler, and R.C. Ydenberg. 2013. Recent switch by the Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias fannini in the Pacific northwest to associative nesting with Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) to gain predator protection. Canadian Journal of Zoology 91: 489-495.

 

Middleton, H.A. 2014. The influence of intensive land use types on the foraging distribution of ducks wintering in the Fraser River Delta, British Columbia. PhD thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada.

 

 

 

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