Regarding pelagic species... (and birds)

This is primarily from a comment relating to what kinds of animal observations the California Natural Diversity Database is keenly interested in ( Because of their high mobility, birds and pelagic species present some issues in mapping areas of conservation interest.

" is difficult to map pelagic species. The CNDDB is primarily interested in what is called an Element Occurrence under the NatureServe Natural Heritage Methodology, something started by The Nature Conservancy around 1979. An Element Occurrence should represent a regularly occurring, reproducing population. Additionally, since the Department is interested in "managing" these species at specific sites, the ocean can present an issue (though there are Marine Reserves specifically for these reasons). The short is, that we primarily focus on terrestrial species or areas where pelagic species regularly hual-out or nest on terra firma, like Steller sea lion breeding rookeries or Ashy strom-petrel nest sites. These are "manageable" sites that help protect a significant ecological life history trait (i.e. reproduction). So, whereas we track particular species, in some cases we are primarily interested in observations relating to evidence of reproduction, especially for birds (highly mobile, like pelagic fish). Probably one of the most common pelagic species on iNat is [California] Brown Pelican, but I have yet to see a posted observation of nesting BRPE (granted, I haven't searched, but I see a bazillion posts of BRPEs). It's kind of hard to "manage" for a fly-over bird, similarly it might be hard to manage a school of anchovies."

For more info, please see our plant and animal information page,, and our data submission page,

Posted on December 30, 2020 03:00 AM by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian


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