|Seabird Distribution and Abundance|
Objectives – This project will conduct surveys for marine birds and mammals as part of the BOEM-funded project ‘Seabird Distribution and Abundance in the Offshore Environment’. The data will be used to examine seabird distribution relative to oceanographic and biological features of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Visual surveys will be conducted from the inside bridge using standard USFWS pelagic survey protocol while the ship is underway and with sufficient daylight to allow species identification. We use strip transect methodology with three distance bins extending from the vessel to 300m, record unusual sightings beyond 300 m for rare birds, large flocks, and mammals, and note behavior (flying, on water, foraging, on ice). Observations are entered directly into a laptop computer using the DLOG3 program (Ford Ecological Consultants, Inc.) with a GPS interface. Location data from the GPS are also automatically written to the program at 20 second intervals, as well as our entries on weather conditions, Beaufort Sea State, ice type and coverage, and glare conditions.