Bureau Waardenburg
Varkensmarkt 9
4101 CK Culemborg
the Netherlands
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Monitoring marine mammals from platforms

Since 2003 Bureau Waardenburg has been carrying out ornithological monitoring programs from fixed platforms. Marine mammals were also included in these systematic observation protocols for recording seabirds. Some of these programs ran for several years and the collated sightings have the potential to contribute to the knowledge on at-sea distribution of marine mammals around these platforms.

This study showed that detection significantly increased with increasing altitude of the viewing platform and decreasing sea state. Also, in instances where observers aim to record both seabirds as well as marine mammals the latter have the potential to be missed during busy periods. Nevertheless, 'seabird' observation protocols used were useful to reveal trends in marine mammals. In this study it was demonstrated that densities recorded from platforms were up to three orders of magnitude lower than during dedicated aerial marine mammal surveys but were comparable to ship-based surveys and aerial surveys that recorded both birds and marine mammals. Provided that limitations are taken into consideration, fixed platforms can provide suitable observation bases for recording the presence, relative abundance and seasonal changes of marine mammals in offshore environments.

Read the article in the journal 'Lutra'.

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