Spatial and temporal aspects of the insertion of artificial nesting material and the selection of nesting material in general
To date, there are no records of the timing and duration of the introduction of artificial nesting material into seabird nests. For this reason, records of the introduction of nesting material during the nesting phase should be made to determine the phenology of plastic introduction (timing and time period; primary or secondary nesting material).
Spatial surveys on whether seabirds specifically visit certain sea areas to obtain artificial nesting material or whether this material is collected randomly at the end of food flights or during trips to obtain nesting material are still completely lacking. GPS transmission will be used to determine where individuals fly to obtain nesting material and whether specific sea areas are visited to obtain nesting material or whether this material is collected at random at the end of food flights.
Findings about when the material is introduced and whether specific areas in the German Bight are visited for this purpose do not yet allow any real conclusions to be drawn as to whether the animals prefer certain types of plastic waste over other types of plastic waste due to their structure or colour composition. For this reason, a comparison between plastic waste in the nests and data from flushing seam monitoring programmes on the German North Sea coast, as well as a research trip via the AWI to areas possibly used by the gannets for nesting material search (sampling macroplastic) will be used to examine how the plastic waste types on beaches but also in the used areas are composed and whether conclusions can be drawn as to whether gannets specifically collect certain plastic waste structures or colours.