The annual SEATRACK meeting was recently held in Tromsø. New research was presented, experiences and ideas were shared and plans for further work in the SEATRACK-programme were made.

Workshop for seabird scientists in Tromsø

The annual SEATRACK meeting was arranged in Tromsø on 11-13 November. Recent results and new research were presented and further work for monitoring arctic seabirds in the SEATRACK-programme was planned.

SEATRACK aims to map the distribution of seabirds outside the breeding season and to understand how population trends in the colonies are affected by the conditions on their wintering grounds.

– One part of the programme has an important conservation purpose, whereas another part focuses on scientific publications of the results, says seabird ecologist and project leader Hallvard Strøm from the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Today we know a little, but still not enough about where seabirds gather outside the breeding season. SEATRACK will therefore provide more knowledge as to when and where seabirds migrate. Such knowledge is needed to evaluate the environmental threats faced by these vulnerable seabird populations.

To track the seabirds’ migration routes outside the breeding season, SEATRACK uses small light loggers attached to the bird’s leg. The light loggers continuously record light-levels, which scientists can use to calculate the bird’s position and hence migration route.

Studies are carried out in Norway, including Svalbard and Jan Mayen, as well as in Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Faroe Islands, UK and Ireland, with scientists from all these nations participating. The Norwegian Polar Institute leads the project, in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA).

The participants who met in Tromsø came from Russia, Norway, Greenland/Denmark, Canada, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Poland, UK and Ireland, and represented around 30 institutions across the North Atlantic.

Phase one of the SEATRACK project was completed in 2018. Phase 2 of the programme runs in 2019-2022.

Read more about the SEATRACK-programme here:

Contact person: Hallvard Strøm, Norwegian Polar Institute

Participants of the SEATRACK workshop in Tromsø.
Photo: Elin Vinje Jenssen, Norwegian Polar Institute