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The distribution, abundance and community structure of marine birds in southern Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait, Antarctica

  • Author(s): Hunt, GL
  • Heinemann, D
  • Veit, RR
  • Heywood, RB
  • Everson, I
  • et al.
Abstract

We studied the distribution and abundance of marine birds in Bransfield Strait and southern Drake Passage during January and February 1985. We identified clusters of bird species, "communities" with similar distributions, and examined the extent to which the distributions of these seabird communities reflected the underlying physical oceanography of the region. Based on temperature, salinity and silicon data, we identified 11 water masses which resulted from varying degrees of mixing of water from the Pacific Basin, the Bellingshausen Sea, the Weddell Sea and terrestrial runoff. Seabird species assemblages were associated with contiguous clusters of water masses, suggesting a response by the birds to apparently subtle differences in their marine habitat. © 1990.

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