Latest Project: Seabirds of Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list for the global significance of its natural beauty and heritage. It is also home to Earthwatch Australia’s latest research project, which investigates the impacts of plastics and marine debris on seabirds. Marine debris has been identified as a key threatening process that may impact numerous wildlife species, particularly seabirds and other marine fauna that may ingest or become entangled. As such, this project on Lord Howe Island provides a risk assessment of the impact of marine debris, particularly plastics, on different species of seabird that breed on the island.
The first team on this project was from Leighton Contractors Pty Limited, with six keen volunteers from across Australia participating. Along with the Earthwatch scientists, the team walked transects located inside and outside seabird breeding colonies, looking for plastics or fragments of plastics. They also participated in two beach surveys, looking for and recording any marine debris encountered. This information will feed into a national database.
The week was a success, with transects completed for five breeding colonies on the island. Further field work will be completed in August, when the next Earthwatch team will run.