Daniel Esler

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The ecosystem response to the 1989 spill of oil from the Exxon Valdez into Prince William Sound, Alaska, shows that current practices for assessing ecological risks of oil in the oceans and, by extension, other toxic sources should be changed. Previously, it was assumed that impacts to populations derive almost exclusively from acute mortality. However, in(More)
Condition indices are commonly used in an attempt to link body condition of birds to ecological variables of interest, including demographic attributes such as survival and reproduction. Most indices are based on body mass adjusted for structural body size, calculated as simple ratios or residuals from regressions. However, condition indices are often(More)
Waterfowl employ a broad array of strategies for acquiring the energy and nutrients needed for egg formation, ranging from storage of endogenous reserves prior to arrival on breeding areas to complete reliance on exogenous food sources available at breeding sites. We used stable isotope analyses (dC and dN) to quantify the relative nutrient inputs to(More)
—We studied nutrient-reserve dynamics of female Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) to quantify intraspecific strategies of nutrient acquisition for egg production, particularly in relation to the seasonal timing of reproduction (i.e., date of initiation of rapid follicle growth [RFG]). We collected female Greater Scaup on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, from(More)
The distribution of predators is widely recognized to be intimately linked to the distribution of their prey. Foraging theory suggests that predators will modify their behaviors, including movements, to optimize net energy intake when faced with variation in prey attributes or abundance. While many studies have documented changes in movement patterns of(More)
We compared density and morphology of wild mussels Mytilus trossulus growing naturally on shellfish farming structures to that of mussels from nearby intertidal areas, and considered the relevance to molluscivorous sea ducks. Mussel density on aquaculture structures greatly exceeded that of intertidal areas and farm mussels were larger, had lower shell(More)
Little is known about baseline concentrations of adrenal hormones and hormonal responses to stress in sea ducks, although significant population declines documented in several species suggest that sea ducks are exposed to increased levels of environmental stress. Such declines have been observed in geographically distinct harlequin duck populations. We(More)
Changing ocean conditions and subsequent shifts in forage fish communities have been linked to numerical declines of some piscivorous marine birds and mammals in the North Pacific. However, limited information about fish communities is available for some regions, including nearshore waters of the eastern Bering Sea, where many piscivores reside. We(More)
Recent studies have documented strong, top-down predation effects of sea ducks on mussel populations in rocky intertidal communities. However, the impact of these gregarious predators in soft-bottom communities has been largely unexplored. We evaluated effects of predation by wintering surf scoters Melanitta perspicillata and white-winged scoters M. fusca(More)
Following the 1989 ‘Exxon Valdez’ oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, we studied the status of recovery of harlequin duck Histrionicus histrionicus populations during 1995 to 1998. We evaluated potential constraints on full recovery, including (1) exposure to residual oil; (2) food limitation; and (3) intrinsic demographic limitations on population(More)