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.
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