Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories


I studied the seasonal abundance and factors affecting the spatial distribution of nearshore (<1 km from shore) marine birds in Monterey Bay during 1999 and 2000. Total abundance was greatest during migration periods in spring and fall, and total diversity was greatest during winter. Mean density of all species (363 birds/km2) was considerably greater than density reported for Monterey Bay as a whole. Species assemblages were fairly consistent between the same season in different years. I tested for effects of sea-surface temperature, gradients in sea-surface temperature (fronts), and water clarity at several spatial scales, from 100 m to 9.4 km. Plunge-diving species were found in areas with greater sea-surface temperature gradients. Several taxa occurred in transect segments with greater sea-surface temperatures than segments without birds. Contrary to my hypothesis, plunge-diving species were found more frequently in turbid water, and relationships between water clarity and pursuit-diving species varied by species.


Thesis (M.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories