Conference 2017 – Expedition Cruising

AH18 October 16, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Creating Ambassadors: Expedition Cruising Helps Secure the Future of Sable Island” Allow us to introduce Cedar Swan, an adventurer and passionate outdoor enthusiast. The CEO of Adventure Canada—as well as an expedition planner…

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Conference 2017 – Seeking Sable’s Lost Wrecks:

AH18 October 15, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Seeking Sable’s Lost Wrecks: Following a Digital Paper Trail” With some 350 ships thought to have wrecked on Sable Island, it’s sometimes called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic”. At our conference, Bill…

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Conference 2017 – Marine Debris and Micro Plastics

AH18 October 14, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Atlantic Canada Microplastics Research Project” Marine debris and micro plastics. Unpleasant for sure, but what does the research tell us? Ariel Smith, MEnv, is the Marine Debris Project Coordinator at Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation…

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Conference 2017 – Sable Island Horse Research

AH18 October 13, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Population Ecology of the Sable Island Horses”  Sable Island’s most famous inhabitants are its horses. And here’s the man who may understand them the best.Philip D. McLoughlin is an Associate Professor…

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Thank You Bill Freedman

October 28, 2015

It was sad to hear of the passing of Bill Freedman in late September 2015.…

AGM 2015 Recap

June 25, 2015

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2015 Annual General Meeting on June 24th at the…

Conference Thanks

June 2, 2015

One month ago today we opened the first Sable Island Conference. It was exciting to…

C-4: “The status, ecology, and conservation of Sable Island’s seabirds” – Robert A. Ronconi


Sable Island is the most isolated seabird colony site in eastern Canada, offering a unique opportunity to study the ecology and population dynamics of terns and gulls in an area removed from the influences of many coastal human activities.  In this presentation I will summarize some of the key results from recent and historical research that has been conducted on Sable Island’s tern and gull populations.  Historically, the island was thought to harbour one of the largest aggregations of breeding terns in the North Atlantic, suggesting that it was once a globally significant breeding colony.  Though the tern population declined dramatically sometime around the 1940s, trends over the past 50 years suggest that the tern population is recovering while gull populations have been gradually declining.  Collections of Herring Gull eggs have revealed contaminant concentrations that are higher on Sable Island than at many other colonies across Canada.  Dietary analysis suggests prey partitioning among tern and gull species, and changes in gull diets over the past 40 years.  Finally, tracking studies of gulls are revealing individual specialization in foraging tactics including round-trips of more than 100 km, associations with offshore natural gas platforms, and year-round use of Sable Island.  Together these research projects highlight some of the unique aspects of the ecology of terns and gulls that breed on Sable Island.