Tracking predators to protect Southern Ocean Ecosystems

Horst.Bornemann [ at ]


n a rapidly changing world, we need to know which areas warrant protection from current and forthcoming threats. This is hard to do objectively in the vast Southern Ocean. However, identifying where predators go also tells us where their prey can be found. If multiple predator species and their diverse prey are found in the same place, then this indicates an area of high ecological significance. We assembled Southern Ocean predator tracking data to produce a database of over 4000 individual animal tracks from 17 species. Statistical spatial models used these data to project the at-sea movements for all known colonies of each predator species across the entire Southern Ocean. These projections were combined across all species to provide an integrated map of those areas important to many different predators. These areas of ecological significance were scattered around the Antarctic continental shelf and in two oceanic regions, one extending from the Antarctic Peninsula into the Scotia Arc, and another surrounding the sub-Antarctic islands in the Southern Indian Ocean. Existing and proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) are mostly within these important habitats, suggesting they are currently in the right places. Yet, when using IPCC climate model projections to account for how areas of important habitat are likely to move by 2100, the same MPAs may not remain perfectly aligned with important predator habitats. Dynamic MPAs are therefore needed to ensure continued protection of Southern Ocean ecosystems and their resources in the face of growing demand by the current and future generations.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Event Details
SCAR Open Science Conference, 03 Aug 2020 - 07 Aug 2020, Hobart, Tasmania.
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Cite as
Hindell, M. A. , Reisinger, R. R. , Ropert-Coudert, Y. , Hückstädt, L. A. , Trathan, P. N. , Bornemann, H. , Charrassin, J. B. , Chown, S. L. , Costa, D. P. , Danis, B. , Lea, M. A. , Torres, L. G. , Van de Putte, A. P. , Wotherspoon, S. , Jonsen, I. D. and Raymond, B. (2020): Tracking predators to protect Southern Ocean Ecosystems , SCAR Open Science Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, 3 August 2020 - 7 August 2020 .


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