Peruvian boobies have the advantage as solitary hunters

Just off the coast of Peru, the Humboldt Current produces one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet. Humans and animals alike have based their livelihood on the abundance of marine life that results from the deep, nutrient-rich waters of this coastal upwelling. Seabirds, which gather in massive groups off the coast to prey on schools of fish, have been completely sustained, until recently: Anchovy decline from overfishing and El Nino’s warmer waters have led to a major drop in seabird populations. One resilient bird, however, has held steady due to its solitary hunting style.

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Seabird movement patterns tied to fishing boat schedules

A seagull follows a crab boat and awaits leftovers. Scientists have tracked large scale changes in bird movement patterns due to fishing operations. Scientists have tracked the movement patterns of seabirds off the coast of Spain and found they are directly tied to the schedule of fishing boats. Specifically, when the fishing boats are working during the week, the birds follow them and eat leftover fish. On the weekends, however, the...

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Seabirds: ‘Climate change is here’

To convince naysayers that climate change is real, maybe all we need to tell them is to look up in the sky – or down into the ocean.  Two recent studies show that seabirds can be important sentinels of a changing climate. Says Dee Boersma, University of Washington ecologist and one of the world’s penguin experts, in a NY Times article today: “The big thing is that penguins are showing us that climate change has...

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