Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oil Spills And Climate Change Double The Mortality Rate Of British Seabirds

Date:
October 14, 2005
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
New research from the University of Sheffield shows for the first time that major oil spills double the mortality rate of British sea birds, even though the pollution occurs hundred of miles from the birds' breeding grounds. The research, which is to be published in the November issue of Ecology Letters also shows a direct link between a warmer climate in the North Atlantic and a higher mortality rate among British guillemots.

New research from the University of Sheffield has shown that major oilspills and a changing climate have had a far greater impact onpopulations of British sea birds than was previously thought.

A team led by Professor Tim Birkhead from the Department of Animal andPlant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, shows for the first timethat major oil spills double the mortality rate of adult guillemots inBritain, even though the pollution occurs hundreds of miles from thebirds' breeding grounds. The research, which is to be published in theNovember issue of Ecology Letters also shows a direct link between awarmer climate in the North Atlantic and a higher mortality rate amongBritish guillemots.

Professor Birkhead's long-term guillemot study has been carried out onSkomer Island, Wales, since 1972. The length of the ongoing study hasallowed the research team to study the effects of a number of seriouswinter oil spills on the guillemot population. Their findings show thathighly publicised oil spills in southern Europe, such as the Prestigeoil tanker disaster off the coast of Galicia, Spain, in November 2002,have far-reaching consequences on seabirds breeding far from the sceneof the initial pollution.

The study has also found that consistently high values of the NorthAtlantic Oscillation (NAO) index (an annual measure of a large scaleclimatic phenomenon affecting winds, temperature and rainfall) for thepast 30 years, has had a negative effect on the guillemot population ofSkomer Island.

Professor Tim Birkhead of the University of Sheffield said: "Prior toour investigation of the guillemot population of Skomer Island, theimpact of oil pollution on seabird mortality rates at a particularcolony was difficult to quantify as oil spills usually occur inwintering areas where birds from many different colonies may bedistributed over a wide area. However, our long-term monitoring ofindividually marked birds on Skomer Island has enabled us to see adirect correlation between major oil pollution events and a twofoldincrease in winter mortality rates of common guillemots.

"Our research has also shown that the NAO index has had a significanteffect on the guillemot population. The consistently high values ofthis climatic phenomenon for the past 30 years may be due tohuman-induced global climate change. If this is the case, it would meanthat seabirds are vulnerable to human activities on two counts: oilpollution from tanker spills and changes to the ecosystem as measuredby the NAO index and caused by global climate change from man's burningof fossil fuels."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Oil Spills And Climate Change Double The Mortality Rate Of British Seabirds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051013222931.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2005, October 14). Oil Spills And Climate Change Double The Mortality Rate Of British Seabirds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051013222931.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Oil Spills And Climate Change Double The Mortality Rate Of British Seabirds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051013222931.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins