Monday, May 14, 2007

Climate Change May Be Cause of Seabird Deaths

For the third year in a row, large numbers of seabirds have washed up dead on beaches in California and Oregon, apparent casualties of shifts in the California Current’s primary productivity.

Bill Sydeman, director of marine ecology at PRBO Conservation Science in Petaluma, believes that changes in productivity, which have translated into less food for seabirds, may in part be the result of climate change, a sort of regional footprint of the global warming trend.

“I think the bird deaths relate to long-term climate-related issues,” Sydeman said. “We are seeing that it doesn’t take much warming, at the wrong time of year, to push the California Current system into a less productive state. This may be the consequence of global warming. The system is primed to be warm and somewhat unproductive.”

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