A new study to improve seabird conservation in Patagonian ecosystems

phys.org | 7/4/2018 | Staff
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Preserving a 300,000 square km area in Patagonian waters could improve the conservation of 20 percent of the population of sea birds in their natural habitat, according to a study published in the journal Conservation Biology and led by Francisco Ramírez, researcher from the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio).

The new study, which shows a multidisciplinary approach to define marine areas of interest in conservation, is also signed by Isabel Afán, Joan Giménez and Manuela G. Forero, from the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC).

Percent - Surface - Level - One - Ecosystems

Only 3 percent of the ocean surface is protected, which is a lower level to the one in terrestrial ecosystems. Marine ecosystems in the Argentinian Patagonia are among the areas with higher biodiversity and the highest biological production worldwide. Despite their ecological value, they are now among the most threatened marine areas by the impact of intense fishing activity and changes related to global warming.

At the moment, seabirds are the most threatened bird group worldwide. As part of this research, experts studied the populations of 14 species of seabirds distributed over 3,000 kilometres in the Patagonian coast. Among the most threatened seabirds are the Olrog's Gull (Larus atlanticus), the red-legged cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) and the Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus), according to the recent reports by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Delimitation - Marine - Areas - Experts - Criteria

In general, the delimitation in protected marine areas is based on the experts' criteria on the material and data of the distribution of some species which are especially threatened. The new study identifies key areas for the conservation of seabirds in one of the most emblematic and productive natural systems of the world.

Ramírez says, "in our study, we carried out a modelling of the spatial distribution of more than two million seabirds of fourteen different species. With these...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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