We outline progress on current work aimed to improve estimates of flying seabird abundance, and ultimately krill consumption, from land-based breeding bird counts of five species (Antarctic petrel, Cape petrel, southern fulmar, snow petrel and Wilson’s storm petrel) in Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2. We compiled information on the historical search effort in potential seabird breeding habitat in these Divisions and conclude that only 2-3% of potential flying seabird breeding habitat has been searched for breeding populations. We conclude that a compilation of historical population counts where searches have been made substantially under-estimates the true breeding populations across all habitat, and alternate approaches are required to realistically estimate seabird abundance, and from that consumption. This conclusion is supported by preliminary results from a broad-scale sample survey of snow petrels. This work is an important contribution to estimating krill consumption by predators in Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2 as part of a risk assessment for these Divisions. It complements similar work on other predator groups in the region including pack-ice seals and Adelie penguins and will contribute to estimating total krill consumption by these predator groups.
Dr Colin Southwell (Australia)
Dr Dirk Welsford (Australia)