USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Identifying important at-sea habitat

Seabirds resting in ocean near Capitola
Seabirds spend the overwhelming majority of their lives at sea, coming ashore only to rest and breed. Resource managers currently lack spatial and temporal information on the at-sea movements and distribution of many seabirds throughout the Pacific. Although aerial surveys provide broad-scale, snap-shot assessments of seasonal distributions for seabirds, they do not provide information on their regional movements and prolonged use of critical habitats. Movement data provide more detailed insights into habitat use and may prove essential for interpreting survey data to best inform adaptive management plans that consider renewable energy development, marine spatial planning, and future climate change effects. USGS is involved with several telemetry studies to better understand movement patterns and “high-use” critical habitats among seabirds in the California Current and beyond.

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