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Announcing the free classroom activity package:

  • Lesson 1 – Introduction to Seabirds
  • Lesson 2 – Tracking Albatross Migrations
  • Lesson 3 – Protecting Ocean Hotspots
  • Lesson 4 – Bolus Analysis
  • Lesson 5 – Campus Debris Survey

These lessons comprise new and modified activities, using inquiry-based science instruction, aligned to standards for grades 5 – 8 with extensions for grades 9 – 12.

Winged Ambassadors: Ocean Literacy Through the Eyes of Albatross

Marrero, M., Hester, M., Hyrenbach, K.D., Michael, P., Adams, J., Keiper, C., Stock, J., Collins, A., Vanderlip, C., Alvarez. T., and Webb, S. 2013. Current: The Journal of Marine Education, 28 (2), 26-30.

Lessons download

These lessons were created by Meghan Marrero of Mercy College and Oikonos – Ecosystem Knowledge in collaboration with NOAA’s Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Special contributions of paintings and photography donated by Sophie Webb and high resolution images of albatross bolus contents donated by David Liittschwager.

These activities incorporate current data from Oikonos’ collaborative research with Hawai‘i Pacific University and USGS (learn more below). Migration and plastic ingestion data from Tern Island, Kure Atoll and Cordell Bank were provided in partnership with USFWS, State of Hawai‘i, and Cordell Bank NMS.

More Credits. We appreciate feedback and questions. Please email

What is a bolus?

As part of the digestive process, many seabirds such as albatross throw up pellets, known as “boluses” to rid themselves of fish bones, squid beaks and other indigestible material. Discover what seabird boluses can tell us about our oceans through these activities.

How are albatross tracked?

how_are_albatross_trackedTo protect albatross, we need to understand how they make a living in the ocean. Yet, they travel too fast and too far to follow them by boat. A small transmitter is taped on a few back feathers. This tag sends a signal to orbiting satellites, which relay the data back to scientists. Basically, the birds email us their location.

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