Climate change affects seabird population

Dramatic changes in the eastern Indian Ocean food web are threatening the viability of the flesh-footed shearwater (a medium-sized seabird), a study has found.

The joint study, led by researchers based at the universities of Tasmania and Saskatchewan, gauged changes in diet by analysing the breast feathers of adult shearwaters at sites in Western Australia and South Australia during 2009-11. They were then compared with historical specimens.

Researcher Dr Jennifer Lavers said the changes in the world’s oceans have altered nutrient flow, and have affected the viability of predator populations when prey species become unavailable.

Shearwater populations are declining, and with current climate forecasts, this trend is predicted to continue, which will have implications for other apex predators.

Read more at University of Tasmania