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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 676:97-116 (2021)  -  DOI:

Tracking the movements of North Atlantic seabirds: steps towards a better understanding of population dynamics and marine ecosystem conservation

Hallvard Strøm1,*, Sébastien Descamps1, Morten Ekker2, Per Fauchald3, Børge Moe3

1Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
2Norwegian Environment Agency, 7485 Trondheim, Norway
3Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Many seabird species undergo extensive seasonal migrations, often across large marine ecosystems or between marine areas under different national jurisdictions. With the advances of electronic tracking, especially of the application of Global Location Sensors (GLS or geolocators), it is now possible to study the seasonal movements of seabirds and link breeding populations to non-breeding habitats. To take full advantage of this development for better management and conservation, and to broaden the scope of scientific questions that can be assessed, there is a need for large-scale and multi-species programmes. The SEATRACK project with partners from 10 countries is ongoing and aims to identify the year-round distribution and movements of seabirds breeding in colonies across the northern part of the North Atlantic. By 2020, 14534 loggers were deployed on 11 species, and data from 5440 retrieved loggers have been analyzed and compiled. This Theme Section assembles original research articles based on data collected as part of the SEATRACK project from 2014 to 2019. A series of 11 papers advances the knowledge within 4 research themes: (1) variation in migration strategies among individuals, populations and species; (2) linking migration strategies and winter distribution to seabird demography and population dynamics; (3) linking migration and winter distribution to contaminants in seabirds and (4) the use of GLS data in marine spatial planning. We review existing literature within SEATRACK’s 4 themes with a focus on the temperate and arctic zones of the North Atlantic to provide a framework within which to discuss the 11 contributions and provide recommendations for future research.

KEY WORDS: Logger technology · Tracking · Marine birds · Winter distribution · Geolocator · SEATRACK · Management

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Cite this article as: Strøm H, Descamps S, Ekker M, Fauchald P, Moe B (2021) Tracking the movements of North Atlantic seabirds: steps towards a better understanding of population dynamics and marine ecosystem conservation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 676:97-116.

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