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|Seabird hotspots on icebergs in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica|In: Polar Biology. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 0722-4060; e-ISSN 1432-2056, meer
Aves [WoRMS]; Daption capense capense (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Pagodroma nivea (Forster, 1777) [WoRMS]; Thalassoica antarctica (Gmelin, 1789) [WoRMS]
Amundsen Sea; Antarctica; Seabirds; Iceberg hotspots; Antarctic petrel;Snow petrel; Cape petrel
Our long-term study on the quantitative at-sea distribution of the upper trophic levels—seabirds and marine mammals—in polar ecosystems aims at quantifying the factors influencing their distribution as well as detecting possible spatial and temporal evolutions, with special attention to hydrography and to global climate changes. During the PS75 (ANT-XXVI/3) expedition of icebreaking RV Polarstern in February–March 2010, 6660 seabirds belonging to 11 identified species were recorded in the Amundsen Sea Embayment and Pine Island Bay during 760 half-hour transect counts. The most numerous species were by far Antarctic petrel Thalassoica antarctica, Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae and snow petrel Pagodroma nivea representing together more than 80% of the total for the whole expedition (n = 5475). Substantial seabird hotspots were concentrated on three icebergs, representing 44% of all observations: 85% of the Antarctic petrels and 40% of the snow petrels. Moreover, 35 Cape petrels Daption capense capense were noted in the immediate surrounding of another iceberg (33% of the total). The highest overall counts were tallied on two icebergs: 250 Antarctic petrels and 500 snow petrels on the first one, and 1000 Antarctic petrels on the second. These hotspots seem to be typical for autumn situations and thus probably reflect the existence of pre-migratory gatherings following the breeding season. The consequences of these high local concentrations and thus the heterogeneity and non-normal distribution of the data are discussed, calculating mean values, standard deviation and density have very questionable value.