Atlantic seabirds , Volume 3 - Issue 2 p. 94- 96
Although produced in a report series, this really is an A4 size book and should be treated as such. It is an excellent summary of current knowledge of seabirds in the Barents Sea region, jointly produced by Norwegian and Russian scientists. The book consists of four main parts: a (very) brief description of the Barents Sea region ecosystem (Chapter 2), species descriptions (Chapter 3, 130 pages), a summary of threats to marine birds in the region (Chapter 4), and recommendations (Chapter 5). The book aims to present up-to-date information on all the marine birds breeding in the Barents Sea (northern Norway, Bear Island, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, the Murman coast and the Nenetski district), including breeding distribution, population sizes and trends, migration patterns (including ringing recoveries) and feeding ecology. Second and third aims of this book are the identification of major gaps in present knowledge and to identify threats to the populations and to propose research activities that should be given special priority. The chapter on the Barents Sea ecosystem is a little disappointing. Apart from a map of the area, maps of ocean currents, distribution areas of three species of fish, water surface temperatures and July ice cover, there is a brief text dealing with peculiarities of the Norwegian Sea (the north end of which is covered by this book), the Barents Sea and the White Sea. The capelin stock collapses of the 1980s and 1990s in the Barents Sea are very briefly mentioned, although certainly the first crash caused mass mortality and major declines in some seabird populations. One would then expect to have this topic addressed in more depth in Chapter 4 (threats to populations), but there we find mere repetition of the text in Chapter 2, plus some inconclusive remarks about the difficulty ‘separating the human and natural effects in quantitative terms’ – a political statement rather than an in depth review of present knowledge and consensus!
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