Monitoring of marine top predators in the North and Baltic Seas: trends, indicators and assessments (TopMarine)

 

Funding:

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation

Project term:

August 2017 to May 2021

Contact:

Entire project: Dr. Kai Borkenhagen, Prof. Dr. Stefan Garthe

Seabird monitoring and assessment: Dr. Nele Markones, Dr. Nils Guse, Henriette Schwemmer, Prof. Dr. Stefan Garthe

 

Seabirds and marine mammals are apex predators and constitute an important component of marine ecosystems. Human influences such as fisheries, development of offshore wind energy generation, ship traffic, and pollution exercise growing pressures on the marine environment. Monitoring and assessment of seabird population status and precise information on their distribution, population trends, and ecological preferences are fundamental prerequisites for effective conservation measures and fact-based management of protected areas. The Birds Directive, Habitats Directive, and Marine Strategy Framework Directive of the European Union require member states to submit reports on a regular basis. Data gathered in this monitoring programme serves as the basis for these reports. In addition, data are used to develop indicators for the assessment of the environmental status in the framework of the regional conventions OSPAR and HELCOM.

The Programme is financed by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. It is organised in cooperation between FTZ, German Oceanographic Museum Foundation and the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW), University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation. The FTZ is project leader and responsible for the monitoring and assessment of seabirds. We conducts studies on distribution patterns, population sizes, population trends, habitat choice, and trophic ecology of seabirds. Human impacts on seabirds and seabird behaviour are further long-term research topics in our institute.

Regular large-scale surveys of seabirds and marine mammals in the German part of the North and Baltic Seas are the basis for this research programme. These surveys are performed according to internationally standardised methods and provide data on abundance, patterns of distribution, and habitat use.

Improvement of monitoring methods is an important component of this project. The integration of digital aerial survey methods (recording seabirds and marine mammals with high resolution digital photo or video cameras) will be prepared and implemented under scientific supervision. At the same time the integrity of long term datasets must be guaranteed.

On the basis of all data gathered in this project assessments according to Birds Directive, Habitats Directive, and Marine Strategy Framework Directive will be executed and indicators for OSPAR and HELCOM will be developed. In addition the data will be used for marine spatial planning and assessments of environmental impacts.


Current results:

Current results for all seabirds frequently occurring in German waters are accessible in the webGIS of the Federal Agency for Nature conservation. You can choose between maps with individual observations and maps showing density of occurrence aggregated over 3 years.


Downloads:

Monitoring Reports

Report on seabird monitoring in the German EEZ of North Sea and Baltic Sea 2014 [German with English summary]

Report on seabird monitoring in the German EEZ of North Sea and Baltic Sea 2012-2013 [German with English summary]

Report on seabird monitoring in the German EEZ of North Sea and Baltic Sea 2011-2012 [German with English summary]

Report on seabird monitoring in the German EEZ of North Sea and Baltic Sea 2010-2011 [German with English summary]

Report on seabird monitoring in the German EEZ of North Sea and Baltic Sea 2009-2010 [German with English summary]

Report on seabird monitoring in the German EEZ of North Sea and Baltic Sea 2008-2009 [German with English summary]

 

Monitoring of Seabird Breeding Success on Helgoland

Breeding Success of Northern Fulmar, Northern Gannet and Kittiwake on Helgoland in 2017 [in German]

Breeding Success of Northern Fulmar, Northern Gannet and Kittiwake on Helgoland in 2016 [in German]

Breeding Success of Northern Fulmar, Northern Gannet and Kittiwake on Helgoland in 2015 [in German]