JUN 18, 2018 06:29 PM PDT

Rising Ocean Temperatures Impact the Survival of Juvenile Albatrosses

The black-browed albatross is perhaps one of the most easily-discernable seabirds because of its iconic facial characteristics and impressively-long wingspan. But it’s not invulnerable to the harmful effects inflicted by rising ocean temperatures.

The black-browed albatross.

Image Credit: Stephanie Jenouvrier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

A new study published in the Journal of Animal Ecology this week by researchers from the United States-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) underscores how these climbing ocean temperatures may threaten the well-being of juvenile black-browed albatrosses on Kerguelen Island.

Animal experts have been monitoring the population on Kerguelen Island every year since the late 70’s, and a closer analysis of these records showed that population growth inconsistencies were most evident during times of sea temperature change in the late-Winter – the time when the birds’ eggs notoriously hatch.

After these juveniles hatch from their eggs, they later experience increased difficulty in obtaining food from the ocean as warmer waters drive prey away. The result is a mass of hungry babies that suffer from malnourishment, and many don’t survive the complications.

"Sea surface temperature is widely used as an indicator of food availability for marine predators because warmer temperatures usually result in lower primary productivity in marine ecosystems, ultimately reducing the availability of prey," explained Dr. Stéphanie Jenouvrier from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

"As our oceans are projected to warm, fewer juvenile albatrosses will manage to survive, and populations are expected to decline at a faster rate," she continued.

Related: Fisheries and climate issues threaten albatrosses

With the current trend of things working against the black-browed albatross’ favor, the researchers expect annual population growth rate declines somewhere in the ballpark of 5.3%. The findings paint a grim picture of the seabirds’ fate, and it could remain that way unless ocean warming patterns shift during the critical juvenile stage of their lives.

"Albatrosses and other seabirds are long-lived predators that fly very long distances to forage at sea and nest on land. As a key indicator of ecosystem health, studying how seabirds fare in the face of climate change can help us predict the ecological impacts on the entire marine food web" added study co-author Dr. Christophe Barbraud of CNRS.

Related: Short-tailed albatross parents adopt an unlikely baby

Additional population growth monitoring may provide animal experts with the insight they need for planning strategic conservation techniques.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 15, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 15, 2019
Frankincense-Producing Trees are in Peril
Frankincense has been cherished for thousands of years, utilized in cultural and religious ceremonies as well as cooking and creating aromatics. Frankincen...
SEP 15, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 15, 2019
Is Mankai Duckweed the Next Superfood?
Acai, kale, and quinoa are just a few foods that have been identified as “superfoods” in recent years. Superfoods are considered those which co...
SEP 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 15, 2019
Some People Get Bitten By Mosquitoes More Than Others, and Here's Why
If you’ve ever felt like you were a mosquito magnet, then there might be some truth to that sentiment. But despite popular belief, mosquitoes do not...
SEP 15, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 15, 2019
On fire: the Amazon
In case you haven’t already heard, the Amazon is on fire. In fact, according to satellite data from the National Institute for Space Research (also k...
SEP 15, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 15, 2019
Marijuana Has Possible Transgenerational Effects
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit psychoactive drug in both the United States and Europe, meaning that many parents, or potential parents, are usi...
SEP 15, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 15, 2019
"The Blob" is Back
Five years ago, a phenomenon dubbed “the blob” caused turmoil along the West Coast of the Pacific Ocean. No, it wasn’t an invader from sp...
Loading Comments...