Geographical patterns of seabird attendance to a research trawler along the Iberian Mediterranean coast
Keywords:seabirds, distribution, trawl survey, western Mediterranean
The attendance of seabirds to a research trawler along the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula was monitored during six demersal surveys (MEDITS project). Cruises were performed in late spring during the period 1994-1999. Twenty seabird species were recorded, including both breeders and migrants. The four most common species behind the boat were local breeders, namely the Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus, Cory´s shearwater Calonectris diomedea, Audouin´s gull Larus audouinii and the yellow-legged gull Larus cachinnans. Most seabirds made use of trawler discards to some extent, with the exception of the Puffin Fratercula arctica. Geographically consistent patterns were identified in the six years surveyed. Seabirds were most abundant along the eastern coast of Iberia, especially off the Ebro Delta and around the Columbretes Islands, coinciding with one of the major areas of primary productivity and one of the largest trawling fleets in the western Mediterranean. The location of the main seabird colonies also influenced the distribution of breeders.
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