Distribution of seabirds in the Lower Estuary and Gulf of St Lawrence (Canada) during summer.

Guse, N., Markones, N., Bolduc, F. and Garthe, Stefan (2013) Distribution of seabirds in the Lower Estuary and Gulf of St Lawrence (Canada) during summer. Seabird, 26 . pp. 42-70.

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Abstract

We investigated the abundance and distribution patterns of a range of seabird
species in the Lower Estuary and Gulf of St Lawrence in the western North Atlantic
Ocean using ship-based surveys during the summers of 2007, 2008 and 2009. This
area is known to be of particular importance for several seabird and cetacean
species. We analysed distribution and abundance of common seabird species in mid
and late summer, and estimated total numbers for the Southern Gulf, which was
most intensively surveyed. Northern Gannets Morus bassanus were overall most
abundant and widespread. Our at-sea estimate of 150,000 birds for the Southern
Gulf constitutes 64% of the North American breeding population, rendering the site
one of the most important areas for this species worldwide during this period. Our
at-sea estimates suggest that according to the 1% threshold of the Ramsar
Convention considerable proportions of the Canadian breeding population of
Razorbills Alca torda (5–11%), Common Guillemots Uria aalge (2–3%), Black-legged
Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla (2–4%) and Black Guillemots Cepphus grylle (1–2%) use
the Southern Gulf. Relative to their biogeographic populations, at-sea totals were
also considerable in American Herring Gulls Larus smithsonianus (3–4%), Great
Black-backed Gulls L. marinus (1–4%) and Great Northern Divers Gavia immer
(1–4%). Areas of high seabird densities and multispecies aggregations (hotspots)
occurred around the Gaspé Peninsula (Northern Gannets, alcids, Black-legged
Kittiwakes, Larus gulls), in the Northwestern Gulf, along the Lower North Shore
(near St Mary’s Islands), along the west coast of Newfoundland (Bay of Islands to St
Georges Bay), in Cabot Strait, around Cape Breton Island and the Magdalen Islands,
as well as west and east of Prince Edward Island.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2017 10:09
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2017 10:09
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/35143

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