The impact of ocean climate variability on prey availability and the reproductive performance of a planktivorous seabird, ancient murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus)
Kalyn, Stacie Lynne
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SubjectAncient Murrelet; Climate Change; El Niño - Southern Oscillation; Euphausiids; Marine Ecosystems; Seabird
Climate change is an increasing concern to the biological health of marine ecosystems as evidenced by exacerbating change to the natural variability in physical and chemical oceanographic conditions. As upper trophic level predators, colonial seabirds are useful indicators to assess long-term trends and changes in oceanographic conditions on various spatial and temporal scales. This study assessed factors that affect the reproductive performance of Ancient Murrelet, a planktivorous seabird, on East Limestone Island, Haida Gwaii. The results of this study reveal that the abundance of at-sea prey is influenced by the temporal variation in oceanographic conditions around Haida Gwaii, further contributing to the growing body of evidence of the impacts of climate change as prey abundance is correlated with the reproductive performance of Ancient Murrelet. If oceanographic change is occurring at a faster rate than Ancient Murrelet or their prey can adapt, further population declines of this seabird are inevitable.
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