Diet of kittiwakes may be key to decline

November 11, 2005

A change in the diet of seabirds may be making them less intelligent and lowering their chances of survival, say University of Alaska researchers.

Alexander Kitaysky said he used lab experiments to mimic changes observed in the diets of kittiwakes in the Bering Sea, changes probably caused by a warming ocean, reported the BBC Friday.

The population of the red-legged kittiwakes on the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska has roughly halved over the last two decades.

"Ecosystems started to change; one of the most pronounced changes was that high-lipid fish such as capelin declined, and were replaced in the kittiwake diet by species such as juvenile pollock, which are poor in lipids," Kitaysky told the BBC.

The cause of the dietary changes may be related to climate change, with rising temperatures documented in the Bering Sea at that period perhaps driving the movements of fish populations, Kitaysky said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: New study shows Arctic Ocean rapidly becoming more corrosive to marine species

Related Stories

Changing climate prompts boreal forest shift

June 11, 2015

With warming summer temperatures across Alaska, white spruce tree growth in Interior Alaska has declined to record low levels, while the same species in Western Alaska is growing better than ever measured before.

Bering Sea chill yields fatter plankton, pollock diet changes

December 9, 2010

Despite a 30-year warming trend, the last three years in the Bering Sea have been the coldest on record. A University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist says that the cold temperatures have helped produce larger zooplankton in ...

Feds document seabird loss in North Pacific waters

March 19, 2015

The number of seabirds, including gulls, puffins and auklets, has dropped significantly in the Gulf of Alaska and northeast Bering Sea, a possible consequence of warmer waters, according to a preliminary federal analysis ...

Climate change may draw gray whale back to Atlantic

March 11, 2015

The effects of global warming are proving so severe that the gray whale, famous for its annual migrations along the Pacific Coast, could find its way back to the Atlantic Ocean, according to a new study co-authored by scientists ...

Recommended for you

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

Scientists unlock secrets of stars through aluminium

July 29, 2015

Physicists at the University of York have revealed a new understanding of nucleosynthesis in stars, providing insight into the role massive stars play in the evolution of the Milky Way and the origins of the Solar System.

First detection of lithium from an exploding star

July 29, 2015

The chemical element lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 made using telescopes at ESO's La Silla Observatory, and near Santiago in Chile, help to explain ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.