Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Huge Puffin Die-Off May Be Linked to Hotter Seas

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  • Hundreds of birds are washing up dead in the Bering Sea, causing alarm among scientists. It may be linked to climate change. Original article link

A stretch of water that provides more seafood than any other in North America saw such record-warm temperatures earlier this year that scientists suspect the ocean food web there has shifted. That could spell big downturns for marine life, from seabirds and fur seals to salmon, crab and the $1 billion-a-year pollock fishing industry that provides flaky white filets for everything from McDonald’s fish sandwiches to frozen fish sticks….

The Bering Sea has been off-the-charts warm,” said Nate Mantua, an ecologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. “We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re in uncharted territory. We’re in the midst of an extraordinary time.“….

Even the pool of cold water that normally rests on the bottom of the Bering Sea was at times 6 degrees Celsius warmer than usual….Mantua said the strange behavior in the atmosphere that helped the Gulf of Alaska’s warm “blob” form in 2013 shifted again late this spring….

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