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Maritime Forum

Map of the week – Marine bird observations

This map of the week features a global dataset of marine bird observations.

Seabirds, defined as birds that spend a large part of their life at sea and predominantly feed on marine organisms, are an important element of the biodiversity in the marine environment1. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes from tiny colourful puffins to the impressive diving gannets and vary greatly in their lifestyles and behaviours. In general however, seabirds have a relatively long lifespan, breed later in life and have fewer young compared to other birds. Unfortunately, this makes them particularly vulnerable to human impacts and many species of seabird are threatened as a result of fish bycatches and plastic pollution2.

In order to protect these magnificent marine birds, there is a need to monitor their behaviour and identify key areas for feeding and breeding. The map of the week features a global dataset of marine bird observations expressed as number of birds observed per area of 1 square degree (~ 12 thousand square kilometre). It shows the importance of coastal regions and island groups as well as impressive migration routes across the oceans.

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The data in this map were provided by EurOBIS