Distribution of white-eyed gull (Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus) nests in the Al Wajh archipelago, northern Red Sea, Saudi Arabia
AdvisorsBerumen, Michael L.
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE) Division
Embargo End Date2023-05-12
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/676834
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Access RestrictionsAt the time of archiving, the student author of this thesis opted to temporarily restrict access to it. The full text of this thesis will become available to the public after the expiration of the embargo on 2023-05-12.
AbstractIsland nesting seabirds are the most threatened group of avian fauna and are particularly vulnerable to habitat disturbance. The white-eyed gull nests exclusively on islands in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, many of which are facing anthropogenic pressure. The Al Wajh archipelago in the northern Red Sea hosts the largest population of the white-eyed gulls in Saudi Arabia and is currently undergoing tourism development for one of the country’s largest ongoing “Gigaprojects”. The habitat preferences and movement ecology of the white-eyed gull are understudied, and the species’ ability to respond to rapid habitat modification is unknown. In 2021, a ground census was conducted on all 92 islands of the Al Wajh lagoon to determine the distribution of white-eyed gull nests. In total, 55% of the white-eyed gull metapopulation were found on islands where development is either ongoing or upcoming, with the one of the largest and densest colonies occurring on an island already undergoing development. The baseline census presented here should be viewed as a first step in understanding the population dynamics of the white-eyed gull and predicting their response to enhanced anthropogenic change in the Al Wajh lagoon.
CitationFoster, A. (2022). Distribution of white-eyed gull (Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus) nests in the Al Wajh archipelago, northern Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. KAUST Research Repository. https://doi.org/10.25781/KAUST-FNV9R