Predicting foraging hotspots for Yelkouan Shearwater in the Black Sea

Perez-Ortega M., Isfendiyaroglu S.

DEEP-SEA RESEARCH PART II-TOPICAL STUDIES IN OCEANOGRAPHY, cilt.141, ss.237-247, 2017 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 141
  • Basım Tarihi: 2017
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.07.007
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.237-247


The Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) is a vulnerable species endemic to the Mediterranean Region, but there is little information of its ecology particularly when at sea. In this study, we assessed the habitat use by Yelkouan shearwater in the Black Sea during the breeding (March-July) and non-breeding (August-February) periods of 2013, using boat-based surveys and shore-based counts. We created a species distribution model (SDM) based on the environmental variables that most accurately reflected the oceanographic habitat of this species in order to delineate foraging hotspots. Our habitat modelling analyses suggest that Yelkouan shearwaters respond to complex bio-physical coupling, as evidenced by their association with oceanographic variables. Foraging Yelkouan shearwaters mainly occurred on the western Black Sea continental shelf, indicating that Yelkouan shearwaters were foraging in shallow, cold and coastal waters. In the non-breeding period, Yelkouan Shearwater occurred beyond the Black Sea continental shelf, a wide pelagic extension of sea, indicating that shearwaters foraged in deep, warm and pelagic waters. These results are consistent with earlier studies, which identified the Black Sea as an important congregation site for Mediterranean Yelkouan shearwater populations outside the breeding season. This study demonstrates how the integration of boat-based survey data, shore-based counts and modelling can provide a wider understanding of the linkage between marine ecosystems that is mediated by marine megafauna such as pelagic seabirds. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.