U.S. Geological Survey Home Page USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Science Meetings; dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Science Meetings dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins Dedicated to Chan Robbins USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Science Meetings dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins Poster Abstracts from USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Science Meetings, October, 2006
Patuxent Science Meeting 2006 Poster Abstract

A database of seabird occurrence and biophysical data for the U.S.

Atlantic coastal and offshore marine environment: assessing our

knowledge of seabird distribution in the context of evaluating offshore

Gilbert AT, O'Connell AF, Johnston S (FWS)

Offshore wind generated electricity promises to be an important source of renewable energy for

the future; however, the potential for negative interactions between birds and wind energy

development exists. Information on the occurrence and distribution of marine birds is available

for some species, but systematic sampling of the ocean environment is infrequent, historical

data collection has been haphazard, and region-wide information is lacking along the Atlantic

coast of the United States. Together, these factors severely limit the ability of regulatory

agencies to evaluate the placement of proposed wind structures and minimize adverse effects

on seabirds. We developed a database in Microsoft Access of seabird occurrence, biophysical,

and oceanographic datasets relevant to coastal and offshore Atlantic waters of the eastern

United States. We searched online resources such as OBIS-SEAMAP, conducted literature

searches for seabird studies in the Atlantic, and contacted agencies and scientists with

potential data. Physical data (e.g., bathymetry, temperature, bottom type) were gathered from

a variety of sources including National Spatial Data Infrastructure Clearinghouse, National

Climatic Data Center, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and others.

Where possible, we retrieved data and then moved this information into a GIS program for

mapping. Currently, we have documented almost 50 datasets totaling >100,000 observations

spanning >30 years of species occurrence for the area of interest. These data should allow

scientists to begin developing valid distribution models for selected species along the Atlantic

coast. Modeled seabird distributions can be used in conjunction with existing wind energy

maps to predict where future wind energy projects would likely cause conflict with seabirds.

Finally, this information will allow scientists and managers to identify gaps in the knowledge of

seabird ecology and distribution, thereby focusing future data collection needs critical to

Friday, September 22, 2006

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