Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Puffins added to the list of dwindling North Sea birdlife

04.06.2008
Atlantic Puffin numbers on the Isle of May off Scotland's east coast have declined by 30% during the last five years after a period of almost 40 years of rapid population increase.

The results of the latest puffin survey carried out by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will be released on Wednesday 4th June 2008. The Isle of May is home to the largest colony of puffins in the North Sea and has been the centre of the UK science community’s research into puffins for over three decades.

Puffin numbers on the Isle of May increased steadily from a handful of pairs 50 years ago to around 69,300 pairs in 2003. This year’s survey, which took place in April, estimates the population to be around 41,000 pairs - dramatically lower than the 100,000 pairs that would be expected if the previous rate of increase had continued.

The survey was led by Professor Mike Harris, Emeritus Research Fellow at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, who has studied puffins for 36 years. Professor Harris said: “Something worrying appears to have happened over last winter and probably the one before. Puffins appear to be joining the ranks of other seabirds in the North Sea that are suffering reduced breeding success and decline in numbers.”

Surveys of the puffin population on the Isle of May take place every five years. Puffins nest in burrows so numbers are assessed by counting burrows in late April after the birds have cleaned out their burrows and before the vegetation has started to grow over.

One of the methods of collecting this data is by carefully examining burrows for signs of occupation. In past surveys the occupancy rate was nearly 100%, but this year it was only 70%.

In addition to the Isle of May survey the research team has collated other evidence pointing to a change in puffin population dynamics. Fewer breeding birds than usual returned to land and those that did were underweight when compared to samples from previous years. This suggests that they may have had a difficult winter. In addition, unusually high numbers of puffins, including some ringed on the Isle of May in previous years, were washed ashore dead during the last two winters.

Professor Harris added: “We need to repeat the survey next year to check the unlikely possibility that a large numbers of puffins took a summer off from visiting the Island. We also need to widen the survey to include other colonies in the North Sea to measure to what extent the puffin population is declining in the area.”

Barnaby Smith | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ceh.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>