Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

A global assessment reveals all 22 species of albatrosses have been tracked at sea

Albatross Anne 2 Shoemaker

"Albatross", artwork by Anne Shoemaker

Alice Bernard (CEFE, Univ. Montpellier, France) and colleagues have published open access in the journal Conservation Letters on developing a a global strategy for tracking seabirds at sea.  “Unbiased tracking of the world's seabirds is essential for understanding their ecology and of the impacts of environmental changes on their population trajectories.  It is therefore key to seabird conservation in a changing world, as well as for understanding global marine ecosystem dynamics, for marine spatial planning and the design and efficiency of marine protected area networks.”

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Electronic tracking technologies revolutionized wildlife ecology, notably for studying the movements of elusive species such as seabirds. Those advances are key to seabird conservation, for example in guiding the design of marine protected areas for this highly threatened group. Tracking data are also boosting scientific understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics in the context of global change. To optimize future tracking efforts, we performed a global assessment of seabird tracking data. We identified and mined 689 seabird last four decades. We found substantial knowledge gaps, reflecting a historical neglect of tropical seabird ecology, with biases toward species that are heavier, oceanic, and from high-latitude regions. Conservation status had little influence on seabird tracking propensity. We identified 54 threatened species for which we did not find published tracking records, and 19 with very little data. Additionally, much of the existing tracking data are not yet available to other researchers and decision-makers in online databases. We highlight priority species and regions for future tracking efforts. More broadly, we provide guidance toward an ethical, rational, and efficient global tracking program for seabirds, as a contribution to their conservation.”


Bernard, A., Rodrigues, AS.L., Cazalis, V. & Grémillet, D. 2021.  Toward a global strategy for seabird tracking.  Conservation Letters

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 June 2021