Identifying hotpots of threats to marine megafauna.

Published online
23 Jul 2020
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Carneiro, A. P. B.
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There is increased global awareness that the oceans are under threat. Marine megafauna such as seabirds, marine turtles, marine mammals, sharks and rays are all in danger. Understanding where and when animals overlap and interact with threats is crucial to halt wildlife population declines, as it enables conservation actions to be directed to areas where they can have the greatest benefits. This paper provides a framework which synthesizes and improves upon previous approaches to identify seabird hotspots at sea. This is an extension of the work BirdLife International has been doing since the Tracking Ocean Wanderers publication in 2003. Seabird tracking data with demographic information and phenological data from major life-history stages were integrated to estimate density distributions of whole seabird populations. Presented are the results of the application on 22 seabird species of global conservation concern, and use overlap with fisheries as a relevant case study for examining how neglecting particular life-history stages can lead to erroneous maps of risk. The omission of juvenile, immature and adult non-breeding distributions lead to distribution maps that underestimate longline fishing bycatch risk by 18-42% were demonstrated.

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