Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 141–179

Predictions of 27 Arctic pelagic seabird distributions using public environmental variables, assessed with colony data: a first digital IPY and GBIF open access synthesis platform

  • Falk Huettmann
  • Yuri Artukhin
  • Olivier Gilg
  • Grant Humphries

DOI: 10.1007/s12526-011-0083-2

Cite this article as:
Huettmann, F., Artukhin, Y., Gilg, O. et al. Mar Biodiv (2011) 41: 141. doi:10.1007/s12526-011-0083-2


We present a first compilation, quantification and summary of 27 seabird species presence data for north of the Arctic circle (>66 degrees latitude North) and the ice-free period (summer). For species names, we use several taxonomically valid online databases [Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), AviBase, 4 letter species codes of the American Ornithological Union (AOU), The British List 2000, taxonomic serial numbers TSNs, World Register of Marine Species (WORMS) and APHIA ID] allowing for a compatible taxonomic species cross-walk, and subsequent applications, e.g., phylogenies. Based on the data mining and machine learning RandomForest algorithm, and 26 environmental publicly available Geographic Information Systems (GIS) layers, we built 27 predictive seabird models based on public open access data archives such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) and PIROP database (in OBIS-Seamap). Model-prediction scenarios using pseudo-absence and expert-derived absence were run; aspatial and spatial model assessment metrics were applied. Further, we used an additional species model performance metric based on the best publicly available Arctic seabird colony location datasets compiled by the authors using digital and literature sources. The obtained models perform reasonably: from poor (only a few coastal species with low samples) to very high (many pelagic species). In compliance with data policies of the International Polar Year (IPY) and similar initiatives, data and models are documented with FGDC NBII metadata and publicly available online for further improvement, sustainability applications, synergy, and intellectual explorations in times of a global biodiversity, ocean and Arctic crisis.


Pelagic circumpolar seabird distribution Open access online databases GIS (Geographic Information System) Circumpolar seabird colonies International Polar Year (IPY) Arctic biodiversity Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data mining synthesis 

Supplementary material

12526_2011_83_MOESM1_ESM.doc (24 kb)
Online Resource IList of major sources of bird banding data for the Circumpolar Arctic. (DOC 24 kb) (372 kb)
Online Resource IIStudy Area shapefiles (coastline, Arctic Circle polygon and 21 Assessment Areas: Svalbard, Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Wrangel Island, Bering Sea, Franz-Josef-Land, New Siberian Islands, Severnaya Zemlya, Atlantic, West Greenland, North Alaska and Canada, Northeast Greenland, Northeast Canada, Nowaja Zemlya, Central Canadian Arctic, Central Arctic, Eastern Siberian Sea, Western Siberia Sea, Laptev Sea, Canadian Archipelago, East Greenland). (ZIP 371 kb)
12526_2011_83_MOESM3_ESM.doc (496 kb)
Online Resource IIINumber of records (by major dataset and provider) in GBIF (data was accessed 15th February 2010) over 66 degrees N latitude (Arctic circle) for the 27 species of this study. The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) was also added externally to these data queries. No relevant online data were found for Aleutian tern, Heuglin’s Gull and Skua. (DOC 496 kb) (2.8 mb)
Online Resource IVAll presence-only data in CSV (ASCII and jpgs) format for all species listed in Table 1. FGDC NBII Metadata are submitted and available with NBII at the Metadata Clearinghouse website. (ZIP 2846 kb) (1.3 mb)
Online Resource Va) All presence/random data as shapefiles (ArcGIS9.3) for all species listed in Table 1 b) All presence/expert-derived absence data as shapefiles (ArcGIS3) for all species listed in Table 1. FGDC NBII Metadata are submitted and available with NBII at the Metadata Clearinghouse website. (ZIP 1318 kb) (7.9 mb)
Online Resource VIIndividual high-resolution circumpolar seabird prediction maps in ArcGIS (ESRI GRID format) for 27 species of this study. FGDC NBII Metadata are submitted and available with NBII at the Metadata Clearinghouse website. (ZIP 8111 kb) (26.6 mb)
Online Resource VIIAll compiled circumpolar seabird colony locations for the species studied in shapefiles and as jpgs. Data are merged from some available digital databases, and literature references. FGDC NBII Metadata are submitted and available with NBII at the Metadata Clearinghouse website. (ZIP 27245 kb)
12526_2011_83_MOESM8_ESM.doc (23 kb)
Online Resource VIIIList of additional 31 bird species suggested to be included in future marine studies of the circumpolar Arctic. (DOC 23 kb)

Copyright information

© Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Falk Huettmann
    • 1
  • Yuri Artukhin
    • 2
  • Olivier Gilg
    • 3
    • 4
  • Grant Humphries
    • 1
  1. 1.EWHALE lab, Institute of Arctic Biology, Biology & Wildlife DepartmentUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Ornithology, Kamchatka Branch of Pacific Inst. of GeographyRussian Academy of SciencePetropavlovsk-KamchatskyRussia
  3. 3.Laboratoire Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 5561, Equipe Ecologie EvolutiveUniversité de BourgogneDijonFrance
  4. 4.Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Division of Population BiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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