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Seabirds and other charismatic megafauna in offshore habitats off NW Africa: GTA Ecological Vulnerability Analysis
Camphuysen, C.J. (2022). Seabirds and other charismatic megafauna in offshore habitats off NW Africa: GTA Ecological Vulnerability Analysis. NIOZ-rapport, 2022(03). NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Texel. 80 pp. https://doi.org/10.25850/nioz/7b.b.md
Deel van: NIOZ-rapport. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Den Burg. ISSN 0923-3210, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Africa; Mauritania; upwelling area; vulnerability assessment; seabirds; marine mammals; gas exploration

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  • Camphuysen, C.J., meer

Abstract
    This is a compilation of data collected during dedicated, systematic at sea surveys of seabirds and marine mammals: research cruises conducted between 1988 and 2022, mostly off Mauritania (NW Africa). Mauritanian waters are part of the Canary Current Eastern Boundary Upwelling Ecosystem; one of only four such ecosystems in the World (California, Humboldt, Benguela and Canary currents.The resulting database was used to describe their spatio-temporal distribution patterns and relative abundance of charismatic megafauna, characterise their foraging habitats and species interactions, and assess their sensitivity to developments associated with the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) gas exploration project.This document gives a first comprehensive, science-based, impression of the megafauna community with emphasis on seabird distribution patterns, seasonal trends, habitats and species interactions in the GTA project area and beyond (West Africa) to help host governments, bp and its partners to improve mitigation management for net-zero impact on biodiversity. The offshore zone harbours internationally important seabird populations, interacting with migrating marine mammals (cetaceans), sea turtles, sharks, other large predatory fish and fishery resources, aggregating in well-defined areas at predictable times. The analysis is focused on ecological guilds, or ‘functional groups’ of species and on foraging opportunities, thereby to demonstrating the importance of the area within the annual life-cycle of taxa originating from both hemispheres, as a foraging ground during breeding, as a stop-over, or wintering (non-breeding) area.

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