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Smithsonian and Partners Map Extensive Transnational and High-Seas Travels of Migratory Marine Animals

Albatros with GPS unit strapped to its back
Daniel Costa
Sep 5 2018

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In the News

Study Results Set To Bolster Success of International Conservation Agreements in Protecting Imperiled Species

Nearly 50 percent of the planet is covered by the high seas, referred to as the "Wild West" of the ocean and among the least protected areas in the world. In September, the United Nations will convene to discuss the management of the high seas beyond national jurisdiction and opportunities for countries to collaborate on the successful protection of species that travel through these remote waters.

A new study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Stanford University and partners will be central to these discussions. The study, published today, Sept. 3 in Nature Ecology & Evolution, reveals not only which countries’ waters 14 migratory marine predators regularly travel through in the Pacific Ocean, but also the importance of the high seas to migratory species. The paper’s lead author, Autumn-Lynn Harrison, a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, will present the study’s key findings during the United Nations General Assembly’s Intergovernmental Conference.

See also: Stanford News: Tracking migration patterns of marine predators across international waters yields geopolitical challenges

Original Paper: Nature ecology & evolution: The political biogeography of migratory  marine predators

Autumn-Lynn Harrison, Daniel P. Costa, Arliss J. Winship, Scott R. Benson, Steven J. Bograd, Michelle Antolos, Aaron B. Carlisle, Heidi Dewar, Peter H. Dutton, Salvador J. Jorgensen, Suzanne Kohin, Bruce R. Mate1, Patrick W. Robinson, Kurt M. Schaefer, Scott A. Shaffer, George L. Shillinger, Samantha E. Simmons, Kevin C. Weng, Kristina M. Gjerde and Barbara A. Block