Population Regulation of Seabird Colonies

  • David K. Cairns
Part of the Current Ornithology book series (CUOR, volume 9)


In 1913, J. H. Gurney published The Gannet, a Bird with a History, which enumerated all known gannetries and their populations. It is no accident that a seabird was chosen for this first attempt to estimate the world population of an avian species, because seabirds are often large and conspicuous and breed in imposing colonies that invite census. The colonial habit of seabirds also encourages studies of breeding and demography, as large amounts of data can be gathered without need to search for widely dispersed nests. David Lack, doubtlessly inspired by early seabird exposure in Iceland and Bear Island, used marine birds prominently in developing the hypothesis that breeding systems evolve to maximize reproductive output (Lack, 1954, 1966, 1967). Seabirds were also presented as champions of the opposing view, now in disfavor, that animals may limit reproduction for the benefit of the species (Wynne-Edwards, 1962).


Colony Size Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Marine Bird Nonbreeding Season Seabird Coloni 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. Cairns
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and OceansScience BranchMonctonCanada

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