European Ocean Biodiversity Information System

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European Seabirds At Sea (ESAS)
Citable as data publication
Vanermen N, Stienen EWM, Fijn R, Markones N, Holdsworth N, Osypchuk A, Pinto C, Desmet P (2022): European Seabirds at Sea (ESAS). ICES, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Contact: Desmet, Peter

Access data
Archived data
Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

European Seabirds At Sea (ESAS) assembles offshore monitoring data on seabirds and marine mammals. This international database mostly includes data from the North Sea, yet large parts of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean are covered as well. It finds its origin in the 'Seabirds at Sea' project, which was initiated in 1979 following the discovery of major oil potential in the North Sea and an urgent need to gain more knowledge on the occurrence and distribution of seabirds in their offshore habitat. This led to the execution of large-scale ship-based surveys across the North Sea using a standardized data collection method and a first European-wide data assembly in 1991. more

ESAS data are collected by various partners during aerial or ship-based surveys at sea and according to a methodology that allows to calculate georeferenced seabird densities. Standard practice further implies collecting as much information as possible on animal age, plumage and behaviour as well as observation conditions and distance to the observed individuals. As part of the WOZEP research project, ESAS data were migrated in 2022 from its former host JNCC (UK) to ICES. The ICES infrastructure allows partners to submit new data and users to download or request data.

Biology > Birds, Biology > Mammals
Marine/Coastal, Abundance, Animal behavior, Birds (marine), Distribution, Ecology, Environmental assessment, Marine birds, Marine ecology, Monitoring, non-buoyant aircraft, Offshore, Pelagic environment, ship, Species diversity, A, North Atlantic, ANE, Baltic, ANE, Biscay Bay, ANE, English Channel, ANE, North Sea, EurOBIS calculated BBOX, Aves, Cetacea, Pinnipedia

Geographical coverage
A, North Atlantic [Marine Regions]
ANE, Baltic [Marine Regions]
ANE, Biscay Bay [Marine Regions]
ANE, English Channel [Marine Regions]
ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]
EurOBIS calculated BBOX Stations
Bounding Box
Coordinates: MinLong: -54,2481; MinLat: 14,8788 - MaxLong: 20,2764; MaxLat: 79,1508 [WGS84]

Temporal coverage
1979 - 2022

Taxonomic coverage
Aves [WoRMS]
Cetacea [WoRMS]
Pinnipedia [WoRMS]

Animal sightings
Count (in assayed sample) of biological entity specified elsewhere [BODC]
Development stage of biological entity specified elsewhere [BODC]
Distance (along transect) [BODC]
Gender of biological entity specified elsewhere [BODC]
Horizontal visibility (ESAS code) in the atmosphere by visual estimation and conversion to ESAS code using the visibility table [BODC]
Horizontal visibility in the atmosphere by visual estimation [BODC]
Sampling protocol [BODC]
Speed of wind {wind speed} in the atmosphere by visual estimation and conversion to Beaufort scale [BODC]

Vlaamse overheid; Beleidsdomein Omgeving; Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek (INBO), moredata creator
Desmet, Peter
Vanermen, Nicolas
Stienen, Eric
Bureau Waardenburg bv - Consultancy for Ecology & Environmentdata creator
Fijn, Ruben
Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel; Research and Technology Centre (FTZ)data creator
Markones, Nele
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), moredata creator
Holdsworth, Neil
Osypchuk, Anna
Pinto, Carlos

Related datasets
Published in:
EurOBIS: European Ocean Biodiversity Information System, more
Source dataset:
JNCC seabird distribution and abundance data (all trips) from ESAS database, more

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Monitoring: field survey
Metadatarecord created: 2012-07-17
Information last updated: 2023-04-26
All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy