Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Warming temperatures put tufted puffin at risk

15.07.2003


Warmer ocean temperatures may be harming reproduction of the tufted puffin in western Canada and if global temperatures continue to increase, the species could be at risk, says a new study co-authored by a University of Alberta researcher.



Throughout the last two decades, uncharacteristically warm sea-surfaces have persisted near Triangle Island--off the coast of British Columbia--a haven for these birds. Researchers have been studying the reproductive performance of tufted puffins there since 1975. For years this seabird, but not others, had frequent reproductive failures--seasons when no chicks were reared and researchers did not know why.

The study, published in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, found that there is a direct relationship between the puffins’ breeding success and temperature.


"They raise few chicks when sea surface temperatures are either unusually cold, as they were in the 70s, or especially when they are unusually warm, as they were through most of the 1990s," said author Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a behavioural ecologist from the Faculty of Science. She shared research duties with Carina Gjerdrum--a master’s-level graduate from Simon Fraser University and the lead author on the paper--Douglas Bertram, now with Environment Canada and John Ryder and Gwylim Blackburn from Simon Fraser University. Another author Anne Vallée, died 21 years ago after a fall she endured while studying the puffins.

The researchers speculate that the biggest reason for these reproductive changes are due to the puffins’ prey, which are small fish and mainly a small anchovy-like species called sand lance. "It appears that these fish leave areas with warm water," said St. Clair. "When this warm water surrounds the breeding colonies, the puffins can’t catch fish. The adults then appear to abandon their chicks under these conditions, perhaps so that they can forage farther offshore and the chicks are left to starve."

If these warm temperatures were to continue or to increase in frequency, it is likely that puffins would experience more and more frequent reproductive failures. A prolonged lack of recruitment of new birds to this population would eventually mean that puffins would no longer occur on this island, which is the only place in Canada where they currently occur in significant numbers (estimated to be more than 50,000 pairs).

Because of a natural variation in ocean climates, the last few four years have been relatively cool, but so far this year, temperatures appear to be closer to the warm period during the mid 90s.

St. Clair said that it is certain that human activities are contributing to the global warming. "The first thing we can do as a society is be aware of how important seemingly small differences in the environment may be to other organisms," she said. "I think most of us have some awareness of how our daily activities can contribute to greenhouse gases, and hence climate change. So we might think about tufted puffins on remote windswept islands the next time we stand before the thermostat or gas pump."

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>