Dedicated to the study and conservation of Pacific Seabirds and their environment.

Scientific Program

We are looking forward to a strong scientific program in Tacoma!  As in past years, the 44th PSG Annual Meeting will include invited and contributed papers, including plenary speakers.  We have five (5) Special Paper Sessions and one (1) symposium.  Contributed sessions include topics familiar to PSG members such as breeding biology, conservation biology, and tracking & distribution.

Please see the Program & Schedule page to view and/or download the Daily Schedule Overview, Scientific Program and Abstract Book. Students, see the Student Page for tips on preparing presentations and posters for the Student Paper Awards.

Please click here for Oral and Poster Presentation Guidelines.

See you in Tacoma!

Kyra Mills-Parker, Scientific Program Chair

Abstract Submission Information

Abstract Format

Abstracts must conform to the guidelines below or they will not be accepted. We recommend that you write your abstract in a word processing application and then copy and paste into RegOnline. Please have all the names, email addresses, and affiliations of the co-authors. RegOnline will accept up to six co-authors for registration.  All of the authors can be listed on your presentation or poster. See additional information below about Abstract Format.  You can submit your abstract without completing payment for registration at this time but remember to return and pay before the early bird registration deadline. After this date, regular rates apply and a $50 fee is automatically added to your registration.

  • English language
  • Title: Up to 125 characters, with spaces
  • Abstract text: Up to 1,750 characters, with spaces (~250 words)
  • Authors: Provide names, affiliations and email addresses for up to six co-authors
  • Presenting Author: Indicate the presenter and provide email address
  • Corresponding Author: If different than presenter, provide name and email address of corresponding author. For example, if the presenting author will be in the field.
  • RegOnline cannot accept pictures, tables, or graphs.
  • Include species names for all seabirds and other taxa.  Place in parentheses after the common name.
  • Spell out all acronyms.
  • Abstracts should contain four main elements: i) context or background information, ii) methodology or approach, iii) results or findings, iv) discussion and conclusion.

Contributed Sessions

Oral presentations will be grouped by topic and depending on the number of contributors, topics may be combined in one session.  Please select a topic in RegOnline when you submit your abstract – we will do our best to accommodate authors’ preferences for oral or poster presentations.

  • Behaviour
  • Breeding Biology
  • Climate Change; Conservation Biology
  • Contaminants & Marine Debris
  • Fisheries
  • Foraging Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Management
  • Policy, and/or Planning
  • Non-breeding Biology
  • Physiology
  • Population Biology
  • Restoration & Eradication
  • Tools & Techniques
  • Tracking & Distribution

Special Paper Sessions and Symposia

The 2017 annual meeting has Special Paper Sessions and Symposia.  Please read the descriptions below and contact the session conveners if you are interested in contributing an abstract.  To submit an abstract, please select from the dropdown menu on RegOnline.

Special Paper Sessions

SPS1 – Pagophilia in the Time of Warming: Ice Ecology of Polar Seabirds
Co-Conveners: John F. Piatt ( and Mark Mallory (

This special paper session will highlight recent research on ecological relationships between sea ice, glacial ice and ice-loving (pagophilic) seabirds in polar regions. There is continuing interest and concern regarding climate change, potential increases in shipping and industrial activity in polar waters, and contaminant issues near the poles. Consequently, there has been much work on polar seabirds during the past two decades, focused on these environmental threats. This session welcomes papers on all aspects of applied or fundamental ecology regarding pagophilic marine birds and their unique associations with ice. Our final goal will be to synthesize information presented at the session into a summary paper on specialized relationships between marine birds and ice, in both breeding grounds and foraging areas, and identify important threats to ice-loving polar seabirds.

SPS2 – Sound to Sea: Marine birds across the Salish Sea
Co-Conveners: Douglas Bertram ( and Nathalie Hamel (

The Salish Sea – the large body of water that adjoins the Pacific Ocean with the big cities of Tacoma and Seattle in the United States, and Vancouver and Victoria in Canada – is recognized as an important area for marine birds year round. Nonetheless, pressures on this complex transboundary ecosystem are intensifying: ocean temperatures are reaching new extremes, more coastal habitats are lost to increasing urbanization, and the threat of oil pollution and other contaminants is ever present. At the same time, regional efforts to protect and restore the ecosystem persevere. Marine bird use of the Salish Sea has been the focus of short and long-term research for decades. It has been almost 30 years since Vermeer and Morgan (1989) published symposium proceedings on the ecology and status of birds in the Strait of Georgia.  In 2009, the journal Marine Ornithology published the proceedings from a symposium on the Salish Sea at the 2008 Pacific Seabird Group meeting. Since then, the Salish Sea region has become larger in the public eye and a broad spectrum of interests contribute to the growing knowledge of the the biological and physical factors which influence marine bird use of the Salish Sea, and to better connect data with decisions.

What have we learned in almost 30 years?  What progress have we made as a research community? Are we closer to managing coastal habitats to create the healthy and resilient ecosystem that birds need in the face of climate change and spreading human footprint? This special paper session welcomes recent research and monitoring of marine birds and their habitats in the Salish Sea, remembering the past for context and keeping an eye toward the future.

SPS3 – Bycatch in Fishing Gear and Fish-Oiled Seabirds
Convener: Enriqueta Velarde (

This special paper session will highlight results of recent research on seabird bycatch by fishing gear, focusing in the Pacific and Gulf of California, including damage caused by oiling of seabirds with fish oil. Seabird mortality though bycatch in fishing operations is presently one of the main causes of seabird mortality and may affect seabird population survival in the long- or mid-term. The results presented in this SPS will be important in the possible generation of a document of opinion and recommendations directed to governments of different countries for the development of conservation strategies and to international institutions such as Marine Stewardship Council, to emphasize the importance of this danger when evaluating fisheries as sustainable.

SPS4 – Changes in Gull Foraging Ecology
Co-Conveners: Stefan Garthe ( and Scott Shaffer (

This special paper session will highlight recent research on gulls showing changes in their foraging ecology. Various reports and studies in North America and Europe have shown that gulls have exhibited changes in many aspects of their ecology. This includes food choice, exploration of novel/new habitats and changes from marine to terrestrial foraging. But also topics such as disease ecology and contaminants as well as possible effects of wind farms are becoming increasingly important in many regions. Many of the changes in gull foraging ecology are related to increasing and/or decreasing population trends, differing among species and regions. The geographic focus of this Session would be on the Pacific coast but also on the Atlantic, including case studies from Europe.

SPS5 – 4th Marine Spatial Planning Session
Co-Conveners: Joanna Smith ( and David Pereksta (

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is used globally to address issues and conflicts with existing uses in the marine space, implement MPA networks, and to plan for new developments such as offshore renewable energy, oil and gas, deep sea mining, and tourism. Most recently, there is a call to increase marine protection targets to 30% by 2030 (IUCN Motion 53). MSP and marine protected area (MPA) network processes both require extensive data sets to inform zoning and network designs – the demand for spatial data sets on marine bird distributions, foraging areas and critical habitats continues to be great, and is increasing. Contributed papers will identify an MSP or MPA network process that their data will or hope to inform, and present new information on seabird species distribution patterns, biogeographic assessments, or specific methodologies for incorporating existing datasets into spatial data frameworks and decision-support tools (e.g, Marxan).


SYM1 – The Values of Long-term Studies: Insights and Synthesis
William Sydeman ( and Julia Parrish (

Science has always been divided into process studies – understanding why something is occurring – and longitudinal studies – documenting pattern and change.  And although the former defines much of what we call science, the latter has lent insights into a changing world, where broad extent, long-term patterns are changing in response to regional-to-global forcing.

The symposium will focus on synthesis and comparison of insights from long-term studies on seabirds.  We focus on Pacific seabirds, with perspectives from other parts of the world (North Sea, Patagonian Sea, and Benguela Current possibly).  We seek contributions that report on up-to-date time series of >15 years on seabirds from at-sea, on-colony, and other creative data sources.  Contributions should seek to establish both baseline and change relative to ocean climate variability, fisheries interactions (including both bycatch and potential food competition), and other long-term or long-lasting (lagged effects) anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems.  Contributions from early career scientists, and studies integrating ecosystem models with empirical seabird studies would be particularly welcome.  We seek to bookend the symposium with an introduction to the value of longitudinal science across a range of approaches, and a closing emphasizing cross-species, region, and ecosystem synthesis.  This symposium would serve to highlight the value of long-term studies to understanding and conserving Pacific to global seabirds, and may result in a special volume in the peer-reviewed literature.

Connect with Us

PSG Secretary
Jane Dolliver

Marine Ornithology

Marine Ornithology is an open access journal that is published through a partnership of the African Seabird Group, Australasian Seabird Group, Dutch Seabird Group, Japanese Seabird Group, The Seabird Group (UK), and Pacific Seabird Group.
Learn More »

Conservation Grants

The objective of the Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation of seabirds in developing countries primarily in or bordering the Pacific Ocean by providing funds for conservation and restoration activities, and building within-country seabird expertise. Learn More »