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
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences