Hunt, G. L.. University of California, Irvine, glhunt@uci.edu
Baduini, C. L.. University of California, Irvine, cbaduini@uci.edu
Coyle, K. O.. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, coyle@ims.uaf.edu

 
EFFECTS OF INTERANNUAL VARIATION IN WEATHER PATTERNS ON THE FORAGING ECOLOGY AND SURVIVAL OF SHEARWATERS IN THE SOUTHEASTERN BERING SEA
 
Climate change can affect marine birds by changing the production and abundance of prey, and by altering prey distribution. Seeking abundant prey, millions of Short-tailed Shearwaters migrate from breeding grounds in Austrailia to the eastern Bering Sea, where they forage on Thysanoessa raschii, a common shelf euphausiid. In August and September 1997, hundreds of thousands of shearwaters starved, the largest die-off recorded from the Bering Sea. In 1998, shearwater densities were reduced compared to the 1970s, and birds were emaciated. During 1997 and 1998, unusual weather patterns in the Bering Sea affected the timing of the spring bloom and the spatial distribution of euphausiids. In 1997, an early spring bloom coupled with an exceptionally warm upper mixed layer resulted in a lack of mating swarms of adult euphausiids in costal domain surface waters during late summer. In 1998, the spring bloom was delayed by an unusually stormy spring, and few euphausiid mating swarms were seen in surface waters in June. During both summers, unprecedented blooms of coccolithophores clouded the water and may have interfered with shearwater foraging. Our results suggest that marine birds are likely to be sensitive indicators of climate-driven change in marine ecosystems.
 
Day: Monday, Feb. 1
Time: 04:45 - 05:00pm
Location: Hilton of Santa Fe
 
Code: SS14MO0445H