9 Sep 2010

Spatial Ecology At Sea: Opportunities and Challenges for Seabird Marine Protected Areas

By Nick Askew

Seabirds at both the individual and community level concentrate at specific locations on the ocean (convergences, fronts, eddies, etc.) and some of the most challenging aspects of seabird conservation have been the identification of these critical habitats and the development of strategies to protect these habitats.

These numerical, foraging, and biodiversity hotspots. play significant roles in breeding success and in the survival of seabirds during the migration and wintering periods.

Only recently, however, have scientists been able to map seabird locations at sea rigorously and begun to understand the underlying mechanisms for marine habitat selection.

As the most visible of all marine organisms, and as strong indicators of physical oceanographic attributes and the distribution and abundance of lower trophic level species, understanding seabird concentrations and aggregations at sea provides a rich information base from which marine protected areas can be designed.

This symposium and workshop will discuss tools and techniques for identification, protection, and management of marine habitats for seabirds in coastal and pelagic areas.

Workshop abstract by: Ben Lascelles – BirdLife International; Gary Langham – Audubon California; Rob Ronconi – Dalhousie; Jim Reid – Joint Nature Conservancy Council. Image credit: ©BenLascelles