Species: Gulls & Phalaropes

Progressing delineations of key biodiversity areas for seabirds, and their application to management of coastal seas

Decision-making products that support effective marine spatial planning are essential for guiding efforts that enable conservation of biodiversity facing increasing pressures. Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are a product recently agreed upon by an international network of organizations for identifying globally important areas. Utilizing the KBA framework, and by developing a conservative protocol to identify sites, we identify globally importants places for breeding seabirds throughout the coastal seas of a national territory. We inform marine spatial planning by evaluating potential activities that may impact species and how a proposed network of Marine Management Areas (MMAs) overlap with important sites.

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Gulls & Phalaropes

Seabird Species A recognisable group of seabirds, found everywhere from the high seas to urban rooftops. This group of 47 species is one of the most recognisable, despite there being no such species as a

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Multispecies tracking reveals a major seabird hotspot in the North Atlantic

The conservation of migratory marine species, including pelagic seabirds, is challenging because their movements span vast distances frequently beyond national jurisdictions. Here, we aim to identify important aggregations of seabirds in the North Atlantic to inform ongoing regional conservation efforts. Using tracking, phenology, and population data, we mapped the abundance and diversity of 21 seabird species. This revealed a major hotspot associated with a discrete area of the subpolar frontal zone, used annually by 2.9–5 million seabirds from ≥56 colonies in the Atlantic: the first time this magnitude of seabird concentrations has been documented in the high seas. The hotspot is temporally stable and amenable to site-based conservation and is under consideration as a marine protected area by the OSPAR Commission. Protection could help mitigate current and future threats facing species in the area. Overall, our approach provides an exemplar data-driven pathway for future conservation efforts on the high seas.

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