JUN 18, 2018 06:29 PM PDT

Rising Ocean Temperatures Impact the Survival of Juvenile Albatrosses

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard
3 3 196

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
APR 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
APR 24, 2018
These Ants 'Explode' to Protect Their Colonies
The world is crawling with insects, but despite all the different varieties humankind has found and studied over the years, researchers continue to discove
MAY 16, 2018
Plants & Animals
MAY 16, 2018
Why Do Some Lizards Have Green Blood?
While many recognize red as the traditional color of blood, you might be surprised to learn that a handful of lizards sport green-colored blood instead. Im
JUN 12, 2018
JUN 12, 2018
Solar Weed-Killing Robots May Upend Herbicide Industry
Meet the Smart See and Spray Weed Killing Robots
JUN 22, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUN 22, 2018
New Type of Photosynthesis is Discovered
This work will change textbooks, and may impact a variety of fields, including the search for extraterrestrial life.
JUL 18, 2018
Cannabis Sciences
JUL 18, 2018
Light controls variants of active ingredient in cannabis
Chemists have synthesized several variants of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. The ability to alter its structure with light has led to a new tool f
JUL 18, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 18, 2018
The Secret Behind Deep-Diving Dolphins May Reside in Their Blood
When researchers noticed common bottlenose dolphins in Bermuda diving up to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface, they quickly started to wonder wh
Loading Comments...