Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oil spills and climate change double the mortality rate of British seabirds

14.10.2005


New research from the University of Sheffield has shown that major oil spills and a changing climate have had a far greater impact on populations of British sea birds than was previously thought.

A team led by Professor Tim Birkhead from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, shows for the first time that major oil spills double the mortality rate of adult guillemots in Britain, even though the pollution occurs hundreds of miles from the birds’ breeding grounds. The research, which is to be published in the November issue of Ecology Letters also shows a direct link between a warmer climate in the North Atlantic and a higher mortality rate among British guillemots.

Professor Birkhead’s long-term guillemot study has been carried out on Skomer Island, Wales, since 1972. The length of the ongoing study has allowed the research team to study the effects of a number of serious winter oil spills on the guillemot population. Their findings show that highly publicised oil spills in southern Europe, such as the Prestige oil tanker disaster off the coast of Galicia, Spain, in November 2002, have far-reaching consequences on seabirds breeding far from the scene of the initial pollution.



The study has also found that consistently high values of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index (an annual measure of a large scale climatic phenomenon affecting winds, temperature and rainfall) for the past 30 years, has had a negative effect on the guillemot population of Skomer Island.

Professor Tim Birkhead of the University of Sheffield said: “Prior to our investigation of the guillemot population of Skomer Island, the impact of oil pollution on seabird mortality rates at a particular colony was difficult to quantify as oil spills usually occur in wintering areas where birds from many different colonies may be distributed over a wide area. However, our long-term monitoring of individually marked birds on Skomer Island has enabled us to see a direct correlation between major oil pollution events and a twofold increase in winter mortality rates of common guillemots.

“Our research has also shown that the NAO index has had a significant effect on the guillemot population. The consistently high values of this climatic phenomenon for the past 30 years may be due to human-induced global climate change. If this is the case, it would mean that seabirds are vulnerable to human activities on two counts: oil pollution from tanker spills and changes to the ecosystem as measured by the NAO index and caused by global climate change from man’s burning of fossil fuels.”

Lynne Miller | alfa
Further information:
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | 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: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History

24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>