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Seabird diversity hotspot linked to ocean productivity in the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem

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Author(s)

W. James Grecian, Matthew J. Witt, Martin J. Attrill, Stuart Bearhop, Peter H. Becker, Carsten Egevang, Robert W. Furness, Brendan J. Godley, Jacob González-Solís, David Grémillet, Matthias Kopp, Amélie Lescroël, Jason Matthiopoulos, Samantha C. Patrick, Hans-Ulrich Peter, Richard A. Phillips, Iain J. Stenhouse, Stephen C. Voltier

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Abstract

Upwelling regions are highly productive habitats targeted by wide-ranging marine predators and industrial fisheries. In this study, we track the migratory movements of eight seabird species from across the Atlantic; quantify overlap with the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) and determine the habitat characteristics that drive this association. Our results indicate the CCLME is a biodiversity hotspot for migratory seabirds; all tracked species and more than 70% of individuals used this upwelling region. Relative species richness peaked in areas where sea surface temperature averaged between 15 and 20°C, and correlated positively with chlorophyll a, revealing the optimum conditions driving bottom-up trophic effects for seabirds. Marine vertebrates are not confined by international boundaries, making conservation challenging. However, by linking diversity to ocean productivity, our research reveals the significance of the CCLME for seabird populations from across the Atlantic, making it a priority for conservation action.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number20160024
Number of pages5
JournalBiology Letters
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Aug 2016

    Research areas

  • Biologging, Human impacts, Marine protected areas, Migration, Upwelling, Marine conservation

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