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ESR 17:93-121 (2012)  -  DOI:

Research priorities for seabirds: improving conservation and management in the 21st century

R. Lewison1,*, D. Oro2, B. J. Godley3, L. Underhill4, S. Bearhop3, R. P. Wilson5, D. Ainley, J. M. Arcos, P. D. Boersma, P. G. Borboroglu, T. Boulinier, M. Frederiksen, M. Genovart, J. González-Solís, J. A. Green, D. Grémillet, K. C. Hamer, G. M. Hilton, K. D. Hyrenbach, A. Martínez-Abraín, W. A. Montevecchi, R. A. Phillips, P. G. Ryan, P. Sagar, W. J. Sydeman, S. Wanless,Y. Watanuki, H. Weimerskirch, P. Yorio

1Institute of Ecological Monitoring and Management, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182-4614, USA
2CSIC UIB, Institut Mediterrani Estudis Avancats IMEDEA, Esporles 07190, Mallorca, Spain
3Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK
4Department of Zoology, Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa
5Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Swansea University, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
Addresses for all authors are given in Supplement 1 at

ABSTRACT: Seabirds are facing a growing number of threats in both terrestrial and marine habitats, and many populations have experienced dramatic changes over past decades. Years of seabird research have improved our understanding of seabird populations and provided a broader understanding of marine ecological processes. In an effort to encourage future research and guide seabird conservation science, seabird researchers from 9 nations identified the 20 highest priority research questions and organized these into 6 general categories: (1) population dynamics, (2) spatial ecology, (3) tropho-dynamics, (4) fisheries interactions, (5) response to global change, and (6) management of anthropogenic impacts (focusing on invasive species, contaminants and protected areas). For each category, we provide an assessment of the current approaches, challenges and future directions. While this is not an exhaustive list of all research needed to address the myriad conservation challenges seabirds face, the results of this effort represent an important synthesis of current expert opinion across sub-disciplines within seabird ecology. As this synthesis highlights, research, in conjunction with direct management, education, and community engagement, can play an important role in facilitating the conservation and management of seabird populations and of the ocean ecosystems on which they and we depend.

KEY WORDS: Seabird conservation · Research priorities · Population dynamics · Threats · Fisheries interactions · Tropho-dynamics · Climate change · Spatial ecology

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Cite this article as: Lewison R, Oro D, Godley B, Underhill L and others (2012) Research priorities for seabirds: improving conservation and management in the 21st century. Endang Species Res 17:93-121.

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