USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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WERC scientists and partners are creating an atlas of seabird distribution and movement data across geopolitical boundaries and agency silos.

A preview of the CCESTA seabird atlas --Photographer: USGS/BOEM


Our oceans are experiencing increased resource extraction, pollution, and energy development worldwide.

To minimize impacts to marine ecosystems, resource managers are creating marine spatial plans. Yet managers often lack spatial and temporal information on the at-sea movements and distribution of vulnerable marine species including seabirds.

Despite the fact that researchers have tracked the movements of numerous seabirds of many species throughout the North Pacific Ocean, this information often is inaccessible to marine resource managers -- buried in scientific literature or waiting in the wings for publication. Recent efforts to make risk assessments for aggregated, multispecies seabird distribution data could be improved by including multiscale telemetry data from a broader suite of marine bird species.

To bridge this gap, the California Current Ecosystem Seabird Telemetry Atlas (CCESTA) seeks to facilitate connectivity between data holders, scientists, and resource managers working in the California Current region.

CCESTA is centralizing seabird telemetry resources -- using tools and analytical resources to visualize, standardize, and quantify ongoing USGS seabird tracking data and data contributed by North Pacific seabird research partners. CCESTA will connect scientists and seabird telemetry data with managers, and the public through web media, data visualization, scientific publications, and outreach.

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