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Demography and conservation of the White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus on Aride Island, Western Indian Ocean
Catry, T.; Ramos, J.A.; Monticelli, D.; Bowler, J.; Jupiter, T.; Le Corre, M. (2009). Demography and conservation of the White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus on Aride Island, Western Indian Ocean. Journ. Ornithol. 150(3): 661-669.
In: Journal für Ornithologie. Blackwell: Berlin. ISSN 0021-8375; e-ISSN 1439-0361
Peer reviewed article  

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    Phaethon lepturus Daudin, 1802 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Adult survival; Habitat management; Mark-recapture model; Populationmatrix model; White-tailed Tropicbird

Authors  Top 
  • Catry, T.
  • Ramos, J.A.
  • Monticelli, D.
  • Bowler, J.
  • Jupiter, T.
  • Le Corre, M.

    The White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus breeding population of Aride Island, Seychelles, has experienced a strong decline in the recent past. To predict the future trends of the White-tailed Tropicbird population on Aride Island and understand the urgency of applying management procedures, we developed a population matrix model. We estimated White-tailed Tropicbird adult survival rate over a 12-year period and investigated whether oceanographic conditions (El Niño Southern Oscillation, ENSO, and inter-annual climate variability in the Indian Ocean, Indian Ocean Dipole, IOD) or local factors (Pisonia grandis fruiting events) potentially affect adult survival. Annual adult survival could not be linked to inter-annual variability in oceanographic conditions, but may be more influenced by Pisonia fruiting events, which, overall, accounts for 23.2% of the adult mortality. The growth rate of the population, primarily influenced by annual adult survival, was estimated to be 0.946, which indicates an annual population decline of 5.4%. At the current rate, the probability of extinction of this population would be 99% in 170 years. Management scenarios studied through Monte Carlo simulations, assuming small increments in adult survival and/or breeding success, dramatically reduce the risk of extinction of White-tailed Tropicbirds. Habitat management, in order to maintain an open canopy and little understorey vegetation, appears to be crucial for the conservation of White-tailed Tropicbirds on Aride Island, as has already been shown for other ground-nesting tropical seabirds nesting on forested islands.

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