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Penguins and sea lions help produce new atlas
Date:11/16/2009

NEW YORK (NOVEMBER 16, 2009) -- Recording hundreds of thousands of individual uplinks from satellite transmitters fitted on penguins, albatrosses, sea lions, and other marine animals, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and BirdLife International have released the first-ever atlas of the Patagonian Sea a globally important but poorly understood South American marine ecosystem.

The atlas contains the most accurate maps ever assembled for this ecosystem revealing key migratory corridors that span from coastlines to deep-sea feeding areas off the continental shelf hundreds of miles away.

Data for the atlas was gathered by a team of 25 scientists working over a 10-year period many of them supported by the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET). The team tracked 16 species of marine animals, which produced some 280,000 individual uplinks of data over the Patagonian Sea, a huge area ranging from southern Brazil to southern Chile.

Called Atlas of the Patagonian Sea: Species and Spaces, the 300-page book was edited by Valeria Falabella and Claudio Campagna of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and John Croxall of Birdlife International.

The atlas, which is in English and Spanish, will be used to help inform potential policy decisions in the region such as managing fisheries and charting transportation routes of oil tankers. This vast region, which spans 3 million square kilometers (1.1 million square miles), is becoming increasingly threatened by burgeoning development and overfishing.

"This unprecedented atlas was essentially written by the wildlife that live in the Patagonian Sea," said Dr. Claudio Campagna who runs the Wildlife Conservation Society's "Sea and Sky" initiative. "The atlas helps fill in many gaps of knowledge and should serve as a blueprint for future conservation efforts in this region."

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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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