World Seabird Conference


Opening plenary for the 2nd World Seabird Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, October 2015.

Curt and I just returned from Cape Town, South Africa, where we attended the 2nd World Seabird Conference (“Seabirds: Global Ocean Sentinels”).  With almost 600 participants from over 50 different countries, it was a week filled with excellent presentations about fascinating seabird topics from around the world. Topics presented ranged from tracking studies, seabird population health, top-down control of seabirds and seabirds as indicators of ocean health, to population ecology of penguins and advancing seabird conservation.

Curt and I were there to present during the “Impacts of Oil Spills on Seabirds” symposium, which was dedicated to our friend and hero, Jay Holcomb, whose legacy you can learn about here. This symposium was built upon the momentum that was started at the 41st annual Pacific Seabird Group meeting in Juneau, AK, which included a Special Paper Session on oil spills. Given that the 1st World Seabird Conference didn’t have a dedicated oil spill session, it was an honor to be invited to help organize and be a part of this session. Oil spills play a major role in seabird mortality throughout the world, and I don’t believe that a seabird conference would be complete without a discussion of how oil spills impact seabird populations.

Curt’s presentation was entitled, “Oiled wildlife response: a review of advances and continuing challenges”, and mine was, “An assessment of oiled seabird rehabilitation success: a review of California spills, 1996-2011”.  Other presenters during this symposium included Karin Sievwright and Bridey White (Massey University), Peter Dann (Phillip Island Nature Parks), Christopher Haney (Terra Mar Applied Sciences, LLC), Juliet Lamb (Clemson University), and Peter Barham (University of Bristol).

It was truly an inspiring week, and we were happy to be able to take part in it.


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