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Beached bird surveys in the North Sea as an instrument to measure levels of chronic oil pollution
Camphuysen, K.; Heubeck, M. (2016). Beached bird surveys in the North Sea as an instrument to measure levels of chronic oil pollution, in: Carpenter, A. (Ed.) Oil pollution in the North Sea. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, 41: pp. 193-208. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/698_2015_435
In: Carpenter, A. (Ed.) (2016). Oil pollution in the North Sea. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, 41. Springer: Heidelberg. ISBN 978-3-319-23900-2. xii, 312 pp., more
In: The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Springer: Heidelberg. ISSN 1867-979X; e-ISSN 1616-864X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Beached bird surveys; Chronic oil pollution; Historical overview; Monitoring techniques; Recent trends

Authors  Top 
  • Camphuysen, K., more
  • Heubeck, M.

Abstract
    Seabirds are particularly sensitive to marine oil pollution. Systematic surveys of beach-cast corpses of birds (‘beached bird surveys’) not only document the adverse effects of oil pollution on wild birds but are particularly useful for monitoring spatial and temporal patterns and trends in chronic oil pollution. In this chapter, we briefly review the history and current schemes of beached bird surveys around the North Sea and the development and sensitivity of the monitoring instrument, followed by an overview of the most recent developments and trends. Oil pollution at sea has been known since the late nineteenth century, and the first beached bird surveys were conducted in the 1920s. Oil rates (the proportion of seabirds found on the tideline that were oiled) remained very high until the late 1980s, but have since declined markedly. Protocols were modified in the late 1990s in order to obtain an internationally accepted monitoring instrument. The subsequent continuation of the declining trends in oil rates around the North Sea is discussed. The species composition of the seabirds most commonly found oiled suggests that coastal areas are currently more or less free from chronic oil pollution, while higher pollution levels occur around shipping lanes in areas with the highest shipping densities.

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