7 July 2017
By New Scientist staff and Press Association
Satellite-tracking of hundreds of British and Irish seabirds has revealed new insights into where species search for food at sea.
The study, which tracked and modelled behaviour of kittiwakes, shags, razorbills and guillemots, could help assess potential impacts from offshore wind farms and other activities and where protected areas of the seas should be.
Lightweight GPS tags were fitted to more than 1,300 adult birds from 29 different colonies around the UK and Ireland, to track where they went once they left their breeding colonies to catch fish at sea.
The data was used to create a computer model for each species to predict important areas at sea for other colonies where no tracking took place, estimating where birds travelled from some 5,500 breeding sites.
Results reveal the extensive areas of sea the four seabird species use – at least 1.5 million square kilometres, an area three times the size of Spain.