From October 17th-22nd, the annual Fulmar Study Workshop took place at IMARES, on the island of Texel, in the Netherlands. The fulmar workshop is given by Jan Andries van Franeker, who starts off talking about the fulmar monitoring in the North Sea and then performs an initial necropsy to teach about the standard methodology utilized for the works of OSPAR. From there on, participants are paired to perform their own necropsies on the birds provided for the workshop, during the whole weekend. It is an amazing opportunity to sharpen your techniques and learn new ones. Standardizing techniques is an important feature that enables data to be compared.
On the following days participants gave talks on their current work and we also had the opportunity to go for a bird watching outing. Weather was a bit mad, but luckily we had some moments of no-rain, when we could run out of the van and spend some time watching the birds [some interesting ones for some people’s books! :)].
I took advantage of the workshop to take a couple of my Irish birds, including a fulmar beached on Dog’s Bay, Connemara, earlier this year, and perform the necropsies there with Jan. I also stayed for some extra days to look a bit more closely into the stomach analysis techniques and thus, also looked at the stomach contents of my Irish fulmar and the results are quite distressing! The poor bird had ingested an immense amount of plastics.
The threshold for OSPAR is that no more than 10% of fulmars have more than 0.1 g of plastics in their stomach, in the North East Atlantic. Currently, all studied fulmars trespass that target highly.
The Fulmar workshop was quite a valid experience for me as in calibrating my methodology, updating on current seabird/marine debris research, networking and making friends. It was definitely some fun few days and I most definitely intend on coming back.
Published by Heidi Acampora