The Distribution of Seabirds and Marine Mammals in Falkland Islands Waters
(2002)
White, R.W., Gillon, K.W., Black, A.D. and Ried, J.B.
This report outlines the results of an intensive three-year study into theat-sea distribution of seabirds and marine mammals in the waters of the Falkland Islands.

Summary

 
 

Data collected on the distribution of seabirds and marine mammals in the waters around the Falkland Islands between February 1998 and Jan­uary 2001 are presented. Following the comple­tion of the first year of the project, a dispersion atlas Seabird and marine mammal dispersion in the waters around the Falkland Islands 1998–1999 (White et al. 1999) was produced. The present up­dated atlas adds considerably to survey coverage achieved during the first year and is the first step towards investigating the inter-annual variability in seabird and marine mammal dispersion within Falkland Islands waters.

 

To date, 57 species of seabird and 17 species of marine mammal have been recorded. For the ma­jority of species, the patterns of spatial and sea­sonal distribution are broadly similar to those identified after 12 months. Prions continued to be the most numerous ‘species’ recorded with partic­ularly high densities encountered within the Spe­cial Co-operation Area during summer months.

 

Following a further two years of surveys, a num­ber of  patterns tentatively identified after the first year have proven to be consistent. The dramatic drop in numbers of prions in March and April, for example, was recorded in all three years of sur­veys and therefore is unlikely to be a result of vari­ability in survey distribution.

 

A degree of inter-annual variation was identi­fied for a number of species. Most notable amongst these was the influx of Antarctic petrels into the study area during the winter of 1999. Also, less spectacular variations, such as seabirds opportunistically feeding on jellyfish, have been recorded.

 

In view of the very little published information about marine mammals in Falkland Islands wa­ters, surveys have added greatly to our knowledge on the occurrence and distribution of these ani­mals within these waters.

 

Continuation of the project will fill existing gaps in survey coverage and also evaluate the pos­sible threat to seabird populations of direct mor­tality from fishing operations within the Falkland Islands conservation zones.

 
 
 
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ISBN 1 86107 534 0
 
Please cite as: White, R.W., Gillon, K.W., Black, A.D. and Ried, J.B., (2002), The Distribution of Seabirds and Marine Mammals in Falkland Islands Waters, ISBN 1 86107 534 0