Report of the Working Group on Seabird Ecology (WGSE)
reportposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
Highlights:• WGSE prepared a preliminary review of studies that have deployed variousremote tracking techniques to gain better understanding of seabirddispersal and dispersion, and also to increase knowledge of seabird habitatpreferences. The history of use of tracking methods is a fairly short and recentone. They include radio‐tracking, satellite tracking, tracking usingGlobal Positioning Systems, geolocators, and photography. The relativemerits of these in various types of study are outlined and prospects for thefuture occasionally addressed. These prospects are improving rapidly withincreasing miniaturization of devices that extends the scope of such studiesas well as the suite of species that can be studied. Falling costs also add tothe likelihood of increased future deployment. Although such techniquescompare favourably in practical terms with more conventional methods,such as transect surveys, the latter remain useful and appropriate in manycircumstances.• In view of recent progress in the identification of inshore areas that serveas key feeding areas for important bird species (a requirement for EUMember States under the Birds Directive), and the potential for conflictwith offshore renewable energy objectives of many countries bordering theNorth Sea, WGSE considered possible methodologies for studying the foragingdemands of birds that visit such areas. In assessing the degree of potentialconflict, it must be emphasized that appropriate methods beapplied to the question. For example, seaduck congregate over large, productivemussel beds in shallow water outside the breeding season, especiallyin the southern North Sea. It is important that inter alia the energeticrequirements of mussel‐eating birds in these areas be assessed. WGSE hasreviewed methods for doing so, and advised on an individual‐basedmodel that should include certain key biological (species‐specific) and environmental(site‐specific) variables in parameterization of the model.
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