Within the next century, rising ocean temperatures around the Galápagos Islands are expected to make the water too warm for a key prey species, sardines, to tolerate. A new study by Wake Forest University biologists, published in PLOS ONE Aug. 23, uses decades of data on the diet and breeding of a tropical seabird, the Nazca booby, to understand how the future absence of sardines may affect the booby population. Researchers have studied diet, breeding and survival of Nazca boobies as part of a long-term study at Isla Española in the Galápagos Islands for more than 30 years. In 1997, midway through the study, sardines disappeared from Nazca booby diet samples and were replaced by the less-nutritious flying fish.
The number of Adélie penguins living in East Antarctica may be double what scientists previously thought. New data collected by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia estimates the population number at nearly six million—almost four million higher than previous estimates.
Stress is a factor not only in the best human families; it also appears among animals. To see how bird family members interact with each other in stressful situations, researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna and the University of Gdansk, Poland, studied parent-offspring interactions in a long-lived seabird, the little auk (Alle alle).
While global pollution is a serious issue for most of the researchers in the field, a team of scientists have discovered that the levels of mercury in seabirds off the coast of British Columbia did not change over the past half a century. The new research suggests that, in fact, the mercury in seabirds is a little lower. Although in normal conditions this would be great news, a drop in the number of fish stocks close to the surface has caused the birds to make a change in their dietary habits, which resulted in eating from areas that are lower in bacteria. This occurrence is all the more negative, as bacteria have a role in controlling the levels of mercury in their bodies.
Publishing in Nature Communications and featured by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science Jeff Pierce and graduate student Jack Kodros present evidence linking ammonia emissions from summertime Arctic seabird-colony excrement, called guano, to newly formed atmospheric aerosol particles. These particles can in turn influence Arctic cloud properties and their effects on climate.
As the oceans fill with plastic debris, hundreds of marine species eat astonishing amounts of it. Yet the question of why so many species, from the tiniest zooplankton to whales, mistake so much of it for food has never been fully explored. Now a new study explains why: It smells like food.
Shifts in the distribution of Spectacled Eiders, a predatory bird at the top of the Bering Sea's benthic food web, indicate possible changes in the Arctic's marine ecosystem, according to new research.
(Click to enlarge) The latest victims are common murres in the Northeast Pacific. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) Are die-offs occurring more often?(From the New York Times/by James Gorman) -- To the casual reader, it can certainly seem that reports emerge on a regular basis of thousands of animals of a species suddenly dying.The latest victims [...]
A local scientist and entrepreneur is leadinga mapping project to find out where potential oil spills could have the worst effects on seabirds.
Bird watchers know where sea ducks like the surf scoter breed — across Canada and Alaska — and where they spend their winters — along the U.S. coasts, in bodies of water like the Chesapeake and Delaware bays.