Presentation: Are Marine Protected Areas well-placed for the conservation of Atlantic migratory seabirds?

Fellow Marie-Morgane Rouyer presented her work at the Student Conference on Conservation Science, the 31st March 2022, at Cambridge. Her talk, entitled Are Marine Protected Areas well-placed for the conservation of Atlantic migratory seabirds?, won the third prize for the best presentation!

[Oral presentation] Rouyer M.-M., Bhola N., Clark B., Pearmain L., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Dias M. (2022) Are Marine Protected Areas well-placed for the conservation of Atlantic migratory seabirds, Student Conference on Conservation Science, University of Cambridge, UK

Abstract: Global environmental goals are announcing the expansion of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). To ensure their effectiveness, they must be designated in areas of significance for species. Seabirds are highly migratory and threatened. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of current MPAs at covering priority areas for the conservation of migratory seabirds. Using tracking data from > 8,000 Atlantic migratory seabirds (46 species, 8 families, >150 colonies), we mapped the distribution of each species throughout their annual cycle and quantified the spatial overlap with its main threats at sea (e.g. bycatch, overfishing, oil and light pollutions, windfarms), and designated MPAs. We outlined an Atlantic-scale, multi-species perspective of the most important marine areas for migratory seabirds, of black spots of risk from threats, and of major gaps in protection. We found that some of the most important areas for seabirds, including places of high threat exposure, are not covered by MPAs. We recommend sites that would benefit from formal MPA designation, as well as urgent priorities for other targeted conservation efforts to mitigate at-sea threats and adequately conserve migratory seabirds across the Atlantic Ocean.