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Predictive Modelling to Identify Near-Shore, Fine-Scale Seabird Distributions during the Breeding Season.

Warwick-Evans VC, Atkinson PW, Robinson LA, Green JA - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: Although many studies describe large scale interactions between seabirds and the environment, the drivers behind near-shore, fine-scale distributions are not well understood.For example, Alderney is an important breeding ground for many species of seabird and has a diversity of human uses of the marine environment, thus providing an ideal location to investigate the near-shore fine-scale interactions between seabirds and the environment.AUC values for each species suggest that these models perform well, although the model for shags performed better than those for auks and gulls.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
During the breeding season seabirds are constrained to coastal areas and are restricted in their movements, spending much of their time in near-shore waters either loafing or foraging. However, in using these areas they may be threatened by anthropogenic activities such as fishing, watersports and coastal developments including marine renewable energy installations. Although many studies describe large scale interactions between seabirds and the environment, the drivers behind near-shore, fine-scale distributions are not well understood. For example, Alderney is an important breeding ground for many species of seabird and has a diversity of human uses of the marine environment, thus providing an ideal location to investigate the near-shore fine-scale interactions between seabirds and the environment. We used vantage point observations of seabird distribution, collected during the 2013 breeding season in order to identify and quantify some of the environmental variables affecting the near-shore, fine-scale distribution of seabirds in Alderney's coastal waters. We validate the models with observation data collected in 2014 and show that water depth, distance to the intertidal zone, and distance to the nearest seabird nest are key predictors in the distribution of Alderney's seabirds. AUC values for each species suggest that these models perform well, although the model for shags performed better than those for auks and gulls. While further unexplained underlying localised variation in the environmental conditions will undoubtedly effect the fine-scale distribution of seabirds in near-shore waters we demonstrate the potential of this approach in marine planning and decision making.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Distribution of seabird breeding sites on Alderney.(a) large gulls, (b) shags, (c) other seabirds nesting on Alderney in 2013.
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pone.0150592.g002: Distribution of seabird breeding sites on Alderney.(a) large gulls, (b) shags, (c) other seabirds nesting on Alderney in 2013.

Mentions: The number of nests and their locations on Alderney and Burhou was mapped for each species from boat and foot-based surveys. Shags, gulls, large auks and gannets nest on the south cliffs of Alderney and the islets to the south and west while the island of Burhou, approximately 2.5 km to the north west, hosts more shags, gulls, puffins and storm petrels (Fig 2). Land based vantage point observations of birds at sea were carried out on Alderney, during the seabird breeding season (April—July) in 2013 and 2014. Fieldwork on Burhou (i.e nest counts) was carried out as part of the RAMSAR management plan which is authorised by the states of Alderney and maintained by the Alderney Wildlife Trust. No permission was necessary for fieldwork on Alderney as this was all carried out on public land, and nests were not approached. The fieldwork did not require handling any animals therefore no permissions from animal ethics committees were required.


Predictive Modelling to Identify Near-Shore, Fine-Scale Seabird Distributions during the Breeding Season.

Warwick-Evans VC, Atkinson PW, Robinson LA, Green JA - PLoS ONE (2016)

Distribution of seabird breeding sites on Alderney.(a) large gulls, (b) shags, (c) other seabirds nesting on Alderney in 2013.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4816348&req=5

pone.0150592.g002: Distribution of seabird breeding sites on Alderney.(a) large gulls, (b) shags, (c) other seabirds nesting on Alderney in 2013.
Mentions: The number of nests and their locations on Alderney and Burhou was mapped for each species from boat and foot-based surveys. Shags, gulls, large auks and gannets nest on the south cliffs of Alderney and the islets to the south and west while the island of Burhou, approximately 2.5 km to the north west, hosts more shags, gulls, puffins and storm petrels (Fig 2). Land based vantage point observations of birds at sea were carried out on Alderney, during the seabird breeding season (April—July) in 2013 and 2014. Fieldwork on Burhou (i.e nest counts) was carried out as part of the RAMSAR management plan which is authorised by the states of Alderney and maintained by the Alderney Wildlife Trust. No permission was necessary for fieldwork on Alderney as this was all carried out on public land, and nests were not approached. The fieldwork did not require handling any animals therefore no permissions from animal ethics committees were required.

Bottom Line: Although many studies describe large scale interactions between seabirds and the environment, the drivers behind near-shore, fine-scale distributions are not well understood.For example, Alderney is an important breeding ground for many species of seabird and has a diversity of human uses of the marine environment, thus providing an ideal location to investigate the near-shore fine-scale interactions between seabirds and the environment.AUC values for each species suggest that these models perform well, although the model for shags performed better than those for auks and gulls.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
During the breeding season seabirds are constrained to coastal areas and are restricted in their movements, spending much of their time in near-shore waters either loafing or foraging. However, in using these areas they may be threatened by anthropogenic activities such as fishing, watersports and coastal developments including marine renewable energy installations. Although many studies describe large scale interactions between seabirds and the environment, the drivers behind near-shore, fine-scale distributions are not well understood. For example, Alderney is an important breeding ground for many species of seabird and has a diversity of human uses of the marine environment, thus providing an ideal location to investigate the near-shore fine-scale interactions between seabirds and the environment. We used vantage point observations of seabird distribution, collected during the 2013 breeding season in order to identify and quantify some of the environmental variables affecting the near-shore, fine-scale distribution of seabirds in Alderney's coastal waters. We validate the models with observation data collected in 2014 and show that water depth, distance to the intertidal zone, and distance to the nearest seabird nest are key predictors in the distribution of Alderney's seabirds. AUC values for each species suggest that these models perform well, although the model for shags performed better than those for auks and gulls. While further unexplained underlying localised variation in the environmental conditions will undoubtedly effect the fine-scale distribution of seabirds in near-shore waters we demonstrate the potential of this approach in marine planning and decision making.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus