Warmer water leaves sea birds hungry

April 6, 2007

U.S. researchers say warmer currents from the Gulf of Alaska may not be producing enough plankton to support West Coast seabirds.

For the third year in a row, scientists are finding an unusually large number of marine birds washed up on beaches along the West Coast, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Bill Sydeman, the director of marine ecology at PRBO Conservation Science, said the trend appears to be linked to changes in the current that delivers "cold, nutrient-rich water from the Gulf of Alaska" that the plankton need to thrive, the newspaper said.

Sydeman said plankton forms the basis of a food web that sustains everything from small fish to whales.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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