Elevated sea-surface temperature, reduced provisioning and reproductive failure of wedge-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus) in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Smithers, B.V., Peck, D.R., Krockenberger, A.K., and Congdon, B.C. (2003) Elevated sea-surface temperature, reduced provisioning and reproductive failure of wedge-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus) in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 54 (8). pp. 973-977.

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Abstract

During the 2002 austral summer abnormally high sea-surface temperatures (SST) occurred in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. This phenomenon was accompanied by reduced provisioning, decreased growth rates and reproductive failure of wedge-tailed shearwaters in the region. In 2002, adults were unable to compensate for changes in either the availability and/or accessibility of forage-fish by increasing food loads or foraging rates. This is one of few studies to explicitly correlate decreases in chick provisioning with above-average annual variation in SST and is the first to do so for a tropical seabird species in the western Pacific. It adds to an increasing number of data sets identifying the potential negative impacts of increasing SST at upper-trophic levels. As SST continue to rise with global climate change, our results predict substantial detrimental effects on seabird populations of the GBR. This finding has important implications for both seabird and coral reef ecosystem management in the region. Our results also suggest that wedge-tailed shearwaters are sensitive indicators to changes in forage-fish availability/accessibility associated with SST variation that can be used to develop models of, and monitor for, these potential impacts.

Item ID: 3464
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: El Niño – Southern Oscillation; forage-fish; seabird reproduction
ISSN: 1448-6059
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2009 01:24
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060308 Life Histories @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 33
Downloads: Total: 1
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