The SEAPOP programme maps seabird populations in coastal areas and on the open sea with focus on Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, as well as sea areas under Norwegian juristiction. In addition, we document the area use and migrations of the seabird populations throughout the year.

What do we map, and why?

Seabird distribution data are used for many different purposes; they are crucial for environmental risk and impact assessments in marine areas. This is because the birds are important components of the ecosystem, and because it is possible to get a good enough overview of their species group in order to perform such impact analyses.

Mapping data can tell us how changes in the climate affect changes in the distribution of organisms. Seabirds are easier to follow than many other groups. Overall, seabirds make good ecosystem indicators, and the distribution of seabirds tells us much about biodiversity, food conditions, human activities and management.

We use several methods to count seabirds. Direct counting is the simplest method, but is best suited when the distance is not too large and the overview is good. However, large gatherings must be counted in other ways. Under Methods, you can find further details as to how we calculate population sizes and how we conduct mapping along the coast and mapping on the open sea.

Counting seabirds.
Photo: Geir Helge Systad