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CAN WE USE THE GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM TO DETERMINE FLIGHT ALTITUDES OF SEABIRDS? A COMPARATIVE APPROACH

Released: 2016
Citation:
Orben, RA, SA Shaffer, J Adams, R Suryan. 2016. CAN WE USE THE GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM TO DETERMINE FLIGHT ALTITUDES OF SEABIRDS? A COMPARATIVE APPROACH. 43rd Annual Meeting Pacific Seabird Group, Oahu HI. 10-13 February 2016

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is now widely used to track the two-dimensional movements of seabirds to understand foraging distributions and individual movements. However, to-date, little attention has been paid to the altitude data associated with the two dimensional locations. Seabirds use both the horizontal and vertical space while at-sea. Therefore a better understanding of when and where seabirds gain altitude is needed to describe fundamental aspects of foraging behavior as well as to inform marine spatial planning. A limiting factor in using altitude from GPS data is that manufacturer reported errors are roughly ± 20 m. Here we discuss the calculation and use of Dilution of Precision values (DOPs) in selecting the most accurate altitude estimates. We use altitude data from rhinoceros auklets (Cerorhinca monocerata) and western gulls (Larus occidentalis) carrying igotu GPS dataloggers, black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) and thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) carrying Technosmart Gypsy-2 & 3 dataloggers and short-tailed albatrosses (Phoebastria albatrus) carrying Microwave Telemetry GPS/PTT transmitters to compare between species with different flight morphologies and behavior. Preliminary results indicate GPS derived altitudes can distinguish differences among species, over time, and flight height changes at the land-sea interface.


This product is associated with the following project:
Seabird Vulnerability Assessment for Renewable Energy Projects

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