Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Drives Endangered Seabird Into UK Waters

Date:
October 24, 2007
Source:
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Summary:
Around 10 per cent of the world population of Balearic shearwaters has visited UK inshore waters this summer and autumn, with more than 1,200 birds being recorded from just one watchpoint near Land's End in Cornwall. Balearic shearwaters are the only European seabird to be classified as 'critically endangered' on the recently released 2007 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List. They could become extinct by 2050 if current rates of decline continue.

Balearic shearwater about to land.
Credit: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Photo by Kris Gillam

Around10 per cent of the world population of Balearic shearwaters has visited UK inshore waters this summer and autumn, with more than 1,200 birds being recorded from just one watchpoint near Land's End in Cornwall.

The findings come from a new survey, led by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) in collaboration with the RSPB, which has been monitoring numbers of the birds off the coast of South West England.

Balearic shearwaters are the only European seabird to be classified as 'critically endangered' on the recently released 2007 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List. They could become extinct by 2050 if current rates of decline continue.

Dr Russell Wynn, who is co-ordinating the SeaWatch SW survey, said: 'Balearic shearwaters leave their Mediterranean breeding colonies in late summer and head for richer feeding grounds along north Atlantic coasts. The numbers recorded during the survey this year show how important our inshore waters are to this highly vulnerable seabird'.

The survey builds upon new research recently published in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters, which highlights global warming as a key driver behind the upsurge in UK Balearic shearwater sightings.

Dr Wynn and colleagues showed how northeast Atlantic sea surface temperatures rose by 0.6 degrees Celsius in the mid-1990s, triggering a northwards shift in the Balearic shearwater's prey fish species and with it the birds that feed on them.

'Just 20 years ago Balearic shearwaters were scarce visitors to South West waters, but they are now regularly recorded from headlands throughout the UK. Since 2003 we have even started seeing birds staying throughout the winter off Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is a completely new phenomenon linked to elevated winter sea temperatures,' said Dr Wynn.

Changes in fish distribution and abundance mean that many Balearic shearwaters are being forced to migrate 20% further - over 400 miles - in search of food than they did a few years ago.

Experts say the effects on survival of individual birds are hard to assess, but could well be contributing to the species highly endangered status.

Dr Wynn added: 'Climate change is often perceived to be a future threat, but the reality for our marine fauna is that it is happening now. Species towards the top of the food chain are having to respond very rapidly in order to survive, and some are going to be pushed to extinction if they fail'.

Protection needed

Marine wildlife faces a variety of other threats in addition to climate change, but enjoys little or no legal protection in UK seas.The RSPB, along with other conservation organisations, is campaigning for the Government to include a Marine Bill in this year's Queen's Speech.The draft Bill includes proposals for a new system of marine planning and licensing, modernising fisheries management and the introduction of Marine Conservation Zones.

The RSPB's South West seabird specialist, Helen Booker, said: 'The Government has recently placed Balearic shearwaters on its new 'BAP list' of priority species needing conservation action, because the birds face an extreme threat of global extinction.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "Climate Change Drives Endangered Seabird Into UK Waters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071020093648.htm>.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. (2007, October 24). Climate Change Drives Endangered Seabird Into UK Waters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071020093648.htm
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "Climate Change Drives Endangered Seabird Into UK Waters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071020093648.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
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