Sunday, 28 October 2007

The Balearic Shearwater is coming

This is an abstract from Russell et al. (2007) 'Climate-driven range expansion of a critically endangered top predator in northeast Atlantic waters' in Biological Letters published by the Royal Society:

Global climate change is driving rapid distribution shifts in marine ecosystems; these are well established for lower trophic levels, but are harder to quantify for migratory top predators. By analysing a 25-year sightings-based dataset, we found evidence for rapid northwards range expansion of the critically endangered Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus in northeast Atlantic waters. A 0.6°C sea surface temperature increase in the mid-1990s is interpreted as an underlying controlling factor, while simultaneous northward shifts of plankton and prey fish species suggests a strong bottom-up control. Our results have important conservation implications and provide new evidence for climate-driven regime shift in Atlantic ecosystems.