Research & Publications

Each year, we conduct monitoring programs on our field camp on East Limestone Island. The data we gather with the help of our volunteer citizen scientists, provides us with long-term information on the biology and health of Haida Gwaii ecosystems.

Our research focus is the Ancient Murrelet, but we also collect data on marine bird and marine mammal populations, intertidal invertebrates, plants, forest birds and the impact of introduced mammals on island ecosystems.

Annual Science Reports

Related Publications

Papers in peer-reviewed journals based either wholly or in part off of work by LBCS volunteers and staff.

The LBCS research on Ancient Murrelet is the only study of this species anywhere that has provided detailed population data, including adult and juvenile survival and reproductive success and one of very few studies of any marine bird species that demonstrates clear links between different demographic parameters and provides all the relevant parameters for demographic modeling. This type of data is available for very few COSEWIC-listed species. Given the difficulties of working on the species, this is a remarkable achievement.

1994    Gaston, A.J.  Status of the Ancient Murrelet, Synthliboramphus antiquus, in Canada and the effects of introduced predators.  Can. Field‑Nat. 108: 211‑222.

1997    Gaston, A.J.  Mass and date of departure affect the survival of Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus chicks after departure from the colony. Ibis 139: 673-678.

1997    Hartman, L., Gaston, A.J., and Eastman, D.  Raccoon predation on Ancient Murrelets on East Limestone Island, British Columbia. J. Wildlife Management 61: 377-388. (in collaboration with BC Wildlife)

An important paper in demonstrating the impact of raccoons on marine birds in Haida Gwaii

2001    Gaston, A.J., Smith, J. Changes in oceanographic conditions off northern British Columbia (1983-99) and the reproduction of a marine bird: the Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus). Can. J. Zool. 79: 1735-1742.

A major step in recognizing the impact of oceanographic changes on marine birds in Haida Gwaii

2002    Hazlitt, S. and A.J. Gaston. Black Oystercatcher natal philopatry in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Wilson Bulletin 114: 520-522.

2003    Gaston, A.J. Influence of chick mass and date of departure from the colony on adult characteristics in a precocial seabird. Auk 120: 818-826.

2005    Allombert, S.A., A.J. Gaston and J.-L. Martin. A natural experiment on the impact of overabundant deer on songbird populations. Biological Conservation 126: 1-13. (in collaboration with Research Group on Introduced Species [RGIS])

2005    Stockton, S.A., S. Allombert, A.J. Gaston and J.-L. Martin. A natural experiment on the effects of high deer densities on the native flora of coastal temperate rain forests. Biological Conservation 126: 118-128. (in collaboration with RGIS)

2005    Gaston, A.J., Jean-Louis Martin, and Sylvain Allombert. Oceanography affects breeding biology for the terrestrial avifauna of a temperate coastal rainforest. Avian Conservation and Ecology 1: 4. (in collaboration with RGIS)

2006    Gaston, A.J., Stockton, S.A. & Smith, J.L. Species-area relationships and the impact of deer-browse in the complex phytogeography of the Haida Gwaii archipelago (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia. Ecoscience 13: 511-522.

2009    Gaston, A.J., Bertram, D.F., Boyne, A.W., Chardine, J.C., Davoren, G., Hedd, A., Hipfner, J.M., Lemon, M.J.F., Mallory, M.L., Montevecchi, W.A., Rail, J.F. and Robertson, G.W. Changes in Canadian seabird populations and ecology since 1970 in relation to changes in oceanography and food webs. Environmental Reviews 17: 267-286. (in collaboration with Canadian Wildlife Service)

2010    Martin, J-L., Stockton, S.A., Allombert, S. and Gaston, A.J. Top-down and bottom-up consequences of unchecked ungulate browsing on plant and animal diversity in temperate forests: lessons from a deer introduction. Biological Invasions 12: 353-371. (in collaboration with RGIS)

An important summary of research results on the impacts of deer on Haida Gwaii forest ecosystems

2010    Bull, R.D., McCracken, A., Gaston, A.J., Birt, T.P. and Friesen, V.L. Evidence for recent population differentiation in Haida Gwaii orange-crowned warblers. Auk 127: 23-34. (in collaboration with Dr V.L. Friesen’s lab, Queen’s University)

2011 Shoji A., Elliott K.H., Aris-Brosou S., Crump D., Gaston A.J. Incubation Patterns in a Central-Place Forager Affect Lifetime Reproductive Success: Scaling of Patterns from a Foraging Bout to a Lifetime. PLoS One 6(3) Article Number: e17760   

2011    Gaston, A. J. and S. Descamps. Population Change in a Marine Bird Colony is Driven By Changes in Recruitment. Avian Conservation and Ecology 6(2): 5.

This paper is a major summary of the demographic work on Ancient Murrelets carried out at East Limestone Island during 1990-2010.

2012.   Shoji A., Yoneda, M. and Gaston A.J. Ocean climate variability links incubation behaviour and fitness in Ancient Murrelets (Synthliboramphus antiquus). Can. J. Zool. 90: 362-368.

2014      Le Saout, S., S. Chollet, S. Chamaillé-Jammes, L. Blanc, S. Padié, T. Verchere, A. J Gaston, M. P Gillingham, O. Gimenez, K. L Parker, D. Picot, H. Verheyden, JL. Martin. Understanding the paradox of deer persisting at high abundance in heavily browsed habitats. Wildlife Biology 20: 122-135.

2015      Chollet, Simon, Carita Bergman, Anthony J. Gaston & Jean-Louis Martin. Long-term consequences of invasive deer on songbird communities: Going from bad to worse? Biological Invasions 17: 777-790.

2015      Gaston, A.J., J. Pattison and A. Brown. Impact of a major forest blowdown event on breeding of Ancient Murrelets Synthliboramphus antiquus at a colony in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Can Field-Nat 129:285-289.

2017      Gaston AJ, Hashimoto Y, Wilson L (2017) Post-breeding movements of Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus family groups, subsequent migration of adults and implications for management. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0171726. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171726

See also:

2008    Gaston, A.J., J-L. Martin, T. Golumbia and S. Sharpe (eds.). Lessons from the Islands: introduced species and what they tell us about how ecosystems work. Environment Canada, Ottawa.

This compilation grew out of a symposium organised jointly by LBCS and RGIS. It includes several studies involving work by LBCS and provides a summary of Introduced Species studies and issues in Haida Gwaii.

Publications that incorporate some LBCS data

2002       Burger, A. E. Conservation assessment of Marbled Murrelets in British Columbia: review of the biology, populations, habitat associations, and conservation. Technical Report Series No. 387, Canadian Wildlife Service, Delta, BC.

2006       Burg, T.M., A.J. Gaston, K. Winker and V. L. Friesen. Evolution in peripheral populations: population genetics of the chestnut-backed chickadee. Molecular Ecology 15: 2409-2415.

2006       Piatt, J.F. et al. Status Review of the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in Alaska and British Columbia. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1387.

2016       Chollet, S., Padié, S., Stockton, S., Allombert, S., Gaston, A.J. and Martin, J.L. Positive plant and bird diversity response to experimental deer population reduction after decades of uncontrolled browsing. Diversity and Distributions, 22(3), pp.274-287.

 2016      Nelson, A.R., Cormier, R.L., Humple, D.L., Scullen, J.C., Sehgal, R. and Seavy, N.E. Migration patterns of San Francisco Bay Area Hermit Thrushes differ across a fine spatial scale. Animal Migration, 3(1), pp.1-13.