RESEARCH

Christmas Island is one of the most remote islands in the world. Yet, some of its seabird species are highly threatened and the reason for this are most likely human activities, like fisheries, marine pollution, and hunting, which affect the seabirds directly as well as indirectly. However, only little is known about the biology of the birds and the ecological relationships in their environment and this knowledge is crucial to protect the threatened seabirds.

Thus, the Christmas Island Seabird Project takes an ecosystematic and interdisciplinary approach to create the scientific foundation for a successful conservation of the seabird species of Christmas Island and their habitat. The project links disciplines like Ecology, Ethology, Physiology, Fisheries Biology, Oceanography and Wildlife Management and applies their methodologies: data loggers and satellite tags are used to elucidate the at-sea behaviour of the birds. The prey composition is determined by dietary analyses and regular nest controls and bird banding are used to investigate reproductive success and population dynamics. All results are linked to information on oceanographic conditions and human activities to determine their impact on the birds.

The results are published in scientific literature and are provided to the responsible governmental institutions as a foundation to develop local, national and international measures and management strategies for a successful protection of the seabirds of Christmas Island and their habitat.

At the moment, the Seabird Project focuses on Abbott's Booby, Christmas Island Frigatebird and Red-tailed Tropicbird.