AUG 27, 2017 9:57 AM PDT

Don't kill me, brother!


For Nazca boobies, a seabird that inhabits the Galapagos islands, there is no sympathy among siblings; these birds practice obligate siblicide in which the first hatched chick almost always kills the second. Following the rules of limited resources, it is advantageous to be an only child. In fact, the mother booby does nothing to stop the harsh behavior; she laid the second egg as a mere insurance policy and knows that she does not have enough energy to nurture both offspring.

Although in future years to come big brother may not be the only threat to booby populations. A new study from PLOS One shows that shrinking sardine numbers, the small fish which lives in the ocean around the Galapagos and provides food for the seabirds, will likely affect Nazca boobies. With the absence of sardines, the birds will replace the fish with a less nutritious diet.

The study showed that as flying fish replaced sardines in the birds' diet, "reproductive success was halved," said Emily Tompkins, lead author of the study. "If the current links between diet and reproduction persist in the future, and rising ocean temperatures exclude sardines from the Galápagos, we forecast the Nazca booby population will decline," Tompkins said.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
MAY 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
A Capuchin Monkey's Curiosity Can Sometimes Cloud its Judgement
MAY 04, 2020
A Capuchin Monkey's Curiosity Can Sometimes Cloud its Judgement
Capuchin monkeys are highly intelligent animals, but they’re also rather curious. They’ve adapted to communi ...
MAY 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Your Night Light Could Be a Glowing Plant
MAY 07, 2020
Your Night Light Could Be a Glowing Plant
Glowing plants light themselves up House plants are not just decorations: thanks to science, they might become a part of ...
MAY 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
MAY 27, 2020
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
After officially receiving the green light from NASA to move forward with the first crewed space launch from American so ...
MAY 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Expandable Resin Solves the Size Problem of 3D Printing
MAY 28, 2020
Expandable Resin Solves the Size Problem of 3D Printing
One of the current limitations of using a 3D printer is the size of the product. For someone to print a large part, they ...
JUN 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
New Solid-State Battery Bids Farewell to Life-Span Limiting Dendrites
JUN 05, 2020
New Solid-State Battery Bids Farewell to Life-Span Limiting Dendrites
A team of Samsung-sponsored researchers reported in a Nature article an innovative design of solid-state batteries  ...
JUN 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Everything You Need to Know About the Tawny Frogmouth
JUN 07, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About the Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) are a captivating species of nocturnal bird that, although owl-esque in terms of ...
Loading Comments...