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Marine Bird Mapping and Assessment

Mapping the Distribution, Abundance and Risk Assessment of Marine Birds in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean

This project developed a series of maps depicting the distribution and probability of occurrence of marine birds in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. The maps are intended to be used for informing decisions about siting offshore facilities; marine spatial planning; and other uses requiring maps of seabird distributions.

This project developed a series of maps depicting the distribution and probability of occurrence of marine birds in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. The goal was to develop and demonstrate techniques to document and predict areas of frequent use and aggregations of birds and the relative risk to marine birds within these areas. The resulting map products are intended to help inform decisions about siting offshore facilities; marine spatial planning; and other uses requiring maps of seabird distributions.

This North Atlantic LCC project supported several components of map and technique development by leveraging several large, ongoing projects funded by BOEM, DOE, USGS, and NOAA and involving research groups at the Biodiversity Research Institute, NC State University, CUNY-Staten Island, the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science-Biogeography Branch.

Prior to this project, information on the spatial and temporal movement and occupancy patterns of wildlife resources in offshore habitats was lacking for much of the North and Mid-Atlantic Planning Regions. This project integrated data from a number of ongoing marine bird survey efforts including but not limited to ships of opportunity surveys conducted by City University of New York, AMAPPS  aerial and ship-based surveys, ongoing telemetry studies of individual marine birds (sea ducks and seabirds) by a number of entities, state-funded studies gathering baseline information, the USFWS sea duck surveys and data from Canadian surveys in the Gulf of Maine.

This project also integrated with and informed work underway by NOAA’s Biogeography Division that is predicting seabird occurrences in the mid-Atlantic and New York Bight.

Read the original project proposal.

LCC Staff Contact: Scott Schwenk

The project is complete. North Carolina State University developed spatial models (exposure maps) for 24 species of marine birds and a final report [large file] for the project. The Biodiversity Research Institute updated seabird data for the USGS Atlantic Seabird Compendium so that they could be used by NC State in modeling. Richard Veit completed review of the historical USGS database on marine birds to correct apparent errors (e.g., mislabeled species) and advised how to handle uncertainties in bird identification. Brian Kinlan (contractor to NOAA) completed coordinating work with other investigators as part of the project.

In August 2013, a seminar was given that discussed progress towards developing maps depicting the distribution, abundance and relative risk to marine birds from offshore activities (e.g., wind energy development) in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.


Quarterly Reports

2014 Jan.-March Quarterly Report - Marine Birds - All Projects
2013 Oct-Dec Quarterly Report - Marine Birds - All Projects
2013 July-Sept. Quarterly Report - Marine Birds - All Projects
2013 April-June Quarterly Report - Marine Birds - All Projects
2013 Jan.-March Quarterly Report - Marine Birds - All Projects
2012 Oct-Dec Quarterly Report - Mapping Marine Birds
2012 July-Sept. Quarterly Reports - Mapping Marine Birds
2012 April-June Quarterly Report - Mapping Marine Birds

NALCC Funding- $144,967

(Note, several projects are underway to assess marine bird distributions in the North Atlantic, such as work supported by NOAA, DOE, and BOEM. Users may wish to investigate products from these projects as well.)

May 2016 update: this report  and maps were revised it correct two species that were originally mislabeled: Black-capped Petrel (BCPE) was changed to Black Scoter (BLSC) and Black Tern (BLTE) was changed to Black-legged Kittiwake (BLKI).


Full Final Report with Appendices (2015-09)

Download link for Final Report plus project datasets (occurrence, large counts, and covariates) [Large File]

View maps from final report on Data Basin (Scroll down to Marine Bird Assessment folder)

Final Report - Richard Veit's Review of Marine Bird Dataset, Aug. 2013

Poster summarizing some of the results

(Note, several projects are underway to assess marine bird distributions in the North Atlantic, such as work supported by NOAA, DOE, and BOEM. Users may wish to investigate products from these projects as well.)

May 2016 update: this report  and maps were revised it correct two species that were originally mislabeled: Black-capped Petrel (BCPE) was changed to Black Scoter (BLSC) and Black Tern (BLTE) was changed to Black-legged Kittiwake (BLKI).


Full Final Report with Appendices (2015-09)

Download link for Final Report plus project datasets (occurrence, large counts, and covariates) [Large File]

View maps from final report on Data Basin (Scroll down to Marine Bird Assessment folder)

Final Report - Richard Veit's Review of Marine Bird Dataset, Aug. 2013

Poster summarizing some of the results