Seabirds as Marine Animals

  • Richard G. B. Brown


Seabirds are marine animals. A great deal is known about their ecology, yet paradoxically almost all this information has been collected at the birds’ breeding sites on land (see, e.g., Bédard, 1969; Belopol’skii, 1961; Cramp et al., 1974; Fisher, 1952; Fisher and Lockley, 1954; Nelson, 1970; Nettleship, 1972; Richdale, 1963; Salomonsen, 1955; L. M. Tuck, 1961). Yet remarkably little is known about the 50% or more of their lives that seabirds spend at sea. This is partly because of the technical difficulties in studying seabirds at sea. But it is unfortunate, too, that the pelagic aspects of seabird ecology fall between the disciplines of ornithology and oceanography, and neither side has been very eager to bridge the gap. Ornithologists tend to think of the sea as something flat, wet, and relatively uniform, over which their birds happen to fly. Oceanographers and marine biologists know that it is far from uniform, but seem reluctant to concede that these airborne, highly mobile animals, which cannot even breed at sea, could ever be associated with specific and relatively localized marine habitats or species communities.


Water Type Marine Animal Baleen Whale Marine Bird Canadian Wildlife 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. B. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Bedford Institute of OceanographyCanadian Wildlife ServiceDartmouthCanada

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