Return to the Isle of Puffins
The Karlsö murre lab methodology can stimulate innovative seabird research
Hentati-Sundberg, J., Österblom, H., Kadin, M., Jansson, Å. & Olsson, O. (2011) Marine Ornithology 40(1):11–16
Studies of seabirds have contributed substantially to theoretical and applied ecology, but practical limitations in the field and lack of knowledge of the life history of studied birds often constitute significant hurdles to progress in research. In the middle of the largest seabird colony in the Baltic Sea, on the island of Stora Karlsö, we have built an artificial breeding site for Common Murres Uria aalge. The Karlsö Murre Lab enables high-resolution studies with minimal disturbance of the breeding birds. It became operational, with the first recruitment of breeding murres, in 2009. Building materials and location were chosen to minimize environmental impact. The lab was constructed to allow future outfitting with a range of high-technology devices. Since most of the fledged chicks in the subcolony have been ringed over the last 10 years, this will enable recruitment and studies using advanced technology of birds with known life history. Hence, we will be able to perform seabird studies with a resolution that is impossible in a strictly natural environment. Better knowledge of links between seabirds and their environment facilitates the use of seabirds as indicators, which in turn can improve marine ecosystem-based management.

Keywords: Alcidae, Common Guillemot, Baltic Sea, life history, marine management, seabirds, technology

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