Seabird surveys under the auspice of the Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS) recently kicked off with observers conducting pelagic seabird surveys in cooperation with NOAA fisheries related surveys. Additionally, a series of nearshore aerial surveys were conducted off the coast of Louisiana to test survey design, protocols and logistics in preparation for a series of Gulf-wide (Brownsville, TX to Florida Keys) seabird surveys. The GoMMAPPS project is funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is focused on documenting the abundance and distribution of seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals in the northern Gulf of Mexico to facilitate decision making with respect to oil and gas activities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Birds, Southeast Region is coordinating the seabird component in partnership with the South Carolina USGS Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit (Dr. Pat Jodice), Terra Mar Applied Sciences (Dr. Chris Haney), USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Unit (Dr. Jim Lyons), Michigan State University (Dr. Elise Zipkin), USFWS Migratory Bird Program, Branch of Population and Habitat Assessment (Dr. Emily Silverman) and the USFWS Migratory Bird Program, Branch of Migratory Bird Surveys (pilot/biologists: Mark Koneff, Jim Wortham, and Steve Earsom).
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