“Current assault on nature is threatening human survival - transformative change is needed” | BirdLife

“Current assault on nature is threatening human survival - transformative change is needed” | BirdLife

“Current assault on nature is threatening human survival - transformative change is needed”

Unprecedented intergovernmental scientific report joins
public outcry for urgent action on the biodiversity crisis, saying
business as usual is no longer an option.

© Sarah Cresswell

By Dr Noëlle Kümpel, Head of Policy, & Dr Stuart Butchart, Chief Scientist, BirdLife

A major new global assessment provides a wake-up call to
decision-makers: we are not on track to meet universal goals for
biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Individual
successes show that we have the knowledge and tools to turn things
around, but transformative change, through stronger and sustained
political commitment, is urgently needed to safeguard and restore the
natural ecosystems on which we depend.

In the UK, the brief respite from endless Brexit discussion over the
Easter parliamentary recess coincided with an explosion in the public
conscious of something rather more important – the state of our planet
and the very survival of humanity as we know it.  In recent weeks we’ve
had daily news headlines on the Extinction Rebellion protest blocking the streets of London, Sir David Attenborough explaining the science behind climate change on prime-time television and 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg meeting
with party leaders in Parliament, all flagging the need for urgent
action to tackle the interlinked issues of climate change, biodiversity
loss and ecological collapse.

Across the world civil society has similarly mobilised: from school
children striking for the climate in 30 countries, fellow ‘rebel’
protests from South Africa to Hong Kong to Australia, and indigenous
people gathering to demand environmental protections for their
territories in Brazil.

To some, such protests have seemed an irritation or distraction from
the realities of daily life, led by a bunch of ‘tree-huggers’ intent on
disrupting ‘business as usual’.  These calls are, however, joined by
clear and compelling evidence from a systematic review of about
15,000 scientific and government sources, compiledby nearly150 expert
authors from 50 countries over three years, urging transformative change
to this failed business model. It shows that ‘business as usual’ is no
longer an option.

Following a week-long meeting in Paris, scientists and governments
have today published an unparalleled global report that finds that
nature is declining at a rate that is unprecedented in human history,
and that this is threatening our future because of our dependence on
healthy ecosystems for most of our most basic needs, including food,
water, clean air and climate control.  And here’s a key point; this is
not a report by ‘experts’ TO government, but a report endorsed and
adopted BY governments, as members of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) –
akin to the respected and highly influential Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) that informs negotiations at the UN climate
change convention.

The first Global Assessment from IPBES concludes that, from genes to
species and ecosystems, humanity’s common heritage and safety net is
declining fast. The report summarises data from IUCN and BirdLife
International showing that of the species groups that have been assessed
for the IUCN Red List,one in four species is threatened with extinction.
Extrapolating these trends across the estimated number of species in
all groups, a shocking one million species may be currently threatened
with global extinction.

Even species that are not yet threatened have suffered substantial declines in abundance, by 60% since 1970 for
vertebrate species according to one indicator. And the habitats these
species depend on are being lost: overall, 75% of the area of the
terrestrial environment and 40% of the marine environment are severely
altered by human impacts.


But apart from risking the loss of some of our most-loved, iconic species, why should we really care about biodiversity? The
loss of species and reduction in numbers of individuals is not just of
concern to academics and conservationists, but to us all. A healthy
ecosystem is one that has both variety and abundance of life, and it is
this delicate balance that delivers what are known as ‘ecosystem
services’, such as pollination, water cycling, carbon sequestration and
storage, which in turn provide us with the food, water and clean air we
need to live.  The more ‘biodiverse’ an ecosystem, the greater the
benefits and the more likely that it will be resilient to change
(including climate change) in the long term.

The IPBES report therefore highlights that the loss of biodiversity
also threatens our own survival and that of future generations, and is
just as important as the now-famous ‘1.5-degree report’ released by the
IPCC last year. Nature plays a critical role in providing food, energy,
medicines, materials, sustaining the quality of air, fresh water and
soils, regulating climate, and reducing the impact of natural hazards.
For example, over two billion people rely on wood fuel to meet their
primary energy needs. However, our assault on nature is fraying the
fabric of life and eroding our economies, livelihoods, food security,
health and quality of life worldwide: we are destroying our life-support
system. As just one example, up to 300 million people are at increased
risk of floods because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.

However, the assessment provides some encouraging news too: it’s not
too late to make a difference, but this will require ‘transformative
change’, in other words, fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across
technological, economic and social factors. The report points to the
urgent need to reform perverse incentives such as subsidies for agriculture,
forestry or fisheries that make no sense environmentally or
economically. For example, finance that promotes deforestation outpaces
that for protection by 40:1. It emphasises the need for developing
integrated management of landscapes that takes into account the
trade-offs between food and energy production, infrastructure,
freshwater and coastal management, and nature conservation.

At BirdLife International, based on our globally-recognised science, such as State of the World’s Birds,
we’ve long been advocating for recognition of the magnitude of
biodiversity declines and the seriousness of these for people and
sustainable development, including in international policy processes such
as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Ramsar Convention
on Wetlands and the Convention on Biological Diversity. We’ve also been
developing and implementing innovative solutions to these issues. In
Indonesia, BirdLife and its Partner, Burung, developed the Ecosystem Restoration Concession concept,
which restores logged or degraded forest for climate change mitigation
and other ecosystem services as well as biodiversity conservation, and
has now been taken up nationally. Our Asia-Pacific Forest Governance project
is empowering local people in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and
Papua New Guinea to manage and protect their own forests through actions
to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation
(REDD+).  And the Trillion Trees initiative aims to keep existing trees standing and restore tree cover for a trillion trees around the world by 2050. We’re working with local people around the world to safeguard a whole range of coastal and inland wetlands, drylands, grasslands, and marine ecosystems too.

A key part of the IPBES Global Assessment is its
evaluation of progress towards the goals adopted by governments: the
‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ for 2020 adopted through the Convention on
Biological Diversity, and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030
adopted through the United Nations (co-led by BirdLife’s Chief
Scientist, Dr Stuart Butchart). The report concludes that we are
unlikely to meet most of the Aichi Targets, with good progress made
towards elements of just four of the 20 Aichi Targets. One of these
relates to increasing the coverage of protected areas, which has now
reached 15% of terrestrial and freshwater environments and 7% of the
marine realm.  However, these only partly cover areas of particular
importance for biodiversity such as Key Biodiversity Areas, and many are
not yet effectively managed. Similarly, while some species have been
brought back from the brink of extinction (contributing towards a target
on preventing extinctions), species are moving towards extinction at an
increasing rate overall for all taxonomic groups with known trends.

In general, more progress has been made in adopting and/or
implementing policy responses and actions to conserve and use nature
more sustainably than in addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss. As
a result, the state of nature overall continues to decline. Given that
nature and its contributions to people underpin the achievement of many
of the Sustainable Development Goals, either directly or indirectly, the
ongoing loss of biodiversity is hampering progress towards these goals,
including those related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities,
climate, oceans and land.

To support governments and others achieve greater progress towards
several of the goals and targets, BirdLife has been working in
partnership with other leading conservation organisations to identify
the most important sites for biodiversity globally – Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs),
as mentioned above.  These are locations that are important for
threatened or geographically restricted species or ecosystems, or for
ecological or evolutionary processes. Many governments have used
information on these sites to target expansion of their protected area
networks, but many KBAs still have no or ineffective protection and are
not adequately conserved.  KBAs should be a particular focus for
improved targets to protect and safeguard nature, as part of a wider
mission to start to restore nature by 2030 under the new global
framework for biodiversity that will be signed by governments in China
next year.

Next year, 2020, will be a critical year for both nature and climate,
with national climate action plans and the biodiversity-related
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also being updated. The post-2020
UN biodiversity framework must be transformational in mobilising a move
from ‘business as usual’ and improving synergies with the climate and
sustainable development agendas, recognising that healthy economies and
societies are underpinned by healthy natural systems. There is still
time to act, but not much, so urgent, strong and sustained political and
societal efforts are needed.

The evidence is clear; we cannot continue to run-down nature without
leaving the world in a dangerous state for future generations. With the
loss of many of our most treasured ecosystems and species, our wonderful
planet would be surely a less joyful as well as less liveable place.

Birdlife’s role in developing and translating the science behind the report

BirdLife’s data have underpinned many aspects of the report, from
our assessments of the extinction risk of the world’s birds and trends
in these (tracked by the Red List Index), to our identification of the
most important sites worldwide for nature (Important Bird and
Biodiversity Areas, and other Key Biodiversity Areas) and progress in
conserving these.

One of the Coordinating Lead Authors of the Global Assessment is
BirdLife International’s Chief Scientist, Dr Stuart Butchart, who co-led
Chapter 3, which assesses progress towards the goals and objectives of
various intergovernmental agreements. These include the Aichi Targets of
the Strategic Plan on Biodiversity 2011-2020, adopted through the
Convention on Biological Diversity, the Sustainable Development Goals,
and a range of other biodiversity-relevant agreements, including the
Convention on Migratory Species, the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and
the World Heritage Convention.

Quotes for press:

Dr Noëlle Kümpel, BirdLife’s Head of Policy, says:

“In recent weeks, the news headlines have been full with the
likes of Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough calling for urgent
action to tackle the interlinked issues of climate change, biodiversity
loss and ecological collapse.  Riding this wave of public awareness
comes this unprecedented global report, not just by ‘experts’ such as
BirdLife but from the 130 government members of IPBES, providing
irrefutable evidence that we are losing biodiversity and natural
ecosystems at a rate that threatens our very survival.  But there is
still time to turn this around; we’re working with national partners
around the world to save sites and species and to get much better
recognition of the role of nature in sustainable development, so that
governments agree and critically implement a truly transformational
UN-wide plan for biodiversity in China next year.”

Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Chief Scientist and co-lead author of Chapter 3 of the report, says:

"From genes to species and ecosystems, nature is declining faster
than at any time in human history. This threatens our survival because
healthy ecosystems underpin our societies, from regulating our climate
to pollinating our crops. We are eroding our economies, livelihoods,
food security, health and quality of life worldwide through this
destruction of our life-support system. Fortunately we still have time
to turn these trends around, but it will take transformative changes,
from reforming perverse subsidies to integrated management of the
oceans. The negotiations were tortuous at times, but word by word,
sentence by sentence, governments adopted text that spells out how the
current assault on nature is threatening human survival, and that only
by making these transformative changes can we turn this around.”


Worsening wind forecasts could signal stormy times ahead for seabirds

Worsening wind forecasts could signal stormy times ahead for seabirds


Stronger winds forecast as a result of climate change could impact on populations of seabirds, a new study suggests.
Research into a common UK coastal seabird, the European shag, showed that when winds are strong, females take much longer to find food compared with their male counterparts. Researchers expect that if wind conditions worsen - as they are forecast to do - this could impact on the wellbeing of female birds, and ultimately affect population sizes.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and the British Antarctic Survey carried out a two-year study into the cormorant-like Shags on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve in south-east Scotland. Small tracking devices were attached to the legs of birds and measured how long they foraged for fish in the sea.
Researchers expect that if wind conditions worsen, as they are forecast to do, this could impact on the wellbeing of female birds and ultimately affect population sizes
In many seabird species, females are smaller and lighter than males, and so must work harder to dive through turbulent water. They may not hold their breath for as long, fly so efficiently nor dive as deeply as males. The latest results suggest that in poor weather conditions, this sex difference is exaggerated.
The scientists found that when coastal winds were strong or blowing towards the shore, females took much longer to find food compared with males. The difference in time spent foraging became more marked between the sexes when conditions worsened, suggesting that female birds are more likely to continue foraging even in the poorest conditions.
European shags around nest sites on the west cliffs of the Isle of May (photo: Mark Newell)
A brisk westerly wind creating rough conditions along the west cliffs of the Isle of May. European shags loiter around nest sites (Photo: Mark Newell).
The research was carried out as part of the long-term CEH seabird study on the Isle of May that began in the 1970s.
Lead author Dr Sue Lewis from the University of Edinburgh said, “In our study, females had to work harder than males to find food, and difficult conditions exacerbated this difference. Forecasted increases in wind speeds could have a greater impact on females, with potential knock-on effects on the wellbeing of populations.”
Co-author Dr Francis Daunt, of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, “Most of the research on climate change has focused on the effects of warming, but there is growing concern about increasing wind speeds and frequency of storms. This study shows one way in which wind could affect wild populations, and may be widespread since many species have sex differences in body size.”
The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Additional information

The full paper is open access at the Journal of Animal Ecology: Contrasting responses of male and female foraging effort to year-round wind conditions, doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12419
The University of Edinburgh issued a press release for this story.
The study was carried out as part of CEH's long-term Isle of May monitoring project


Errepideetara botatzen den gatza ere, hegaztien hiltzaile


Le salage des routes, une cause de mortalité sous-estimée pour certains passereaux

Les Carduelinés sont particulièrement attirés par les granules de sel, ce qui peut causer leur perte

Le sel (chlorure de sodium) répandu sur les routes lors des épisodes de gel ou de neige a plusieurs effets négatifs sur l'environnement : il modifie localement la nature des sols, brûle le feuillage des végétaux et dessèche leurs racines, il irrite les pattes des animaux domestiques (chiens, chats) et il augmente la mortalité des chenilles se nourrissant des plantes ayant poussé en bordure des voies traitées.

Il existe aussi de nombreux cas de mortalité d'oiseaux le long des routes où du sel a été répandu. La plupart des cadavres trouvés concernent des passereaux de la famille des Carduélinés (roselins, linottes, sizerins...), peut-être à cause de leur comportement alimentaire hivernal (ils recherchent alors leur nourriture sur le sol, dans des endroits dégagés) et de leur comportement grégaire à cette période.

Ces espèces granivores sont particulièrement attirées par les granules de sel, certainement pour satisfaire des besoins en oligo-éléments (comme c'est le cas des perroquets ingérant de l'argile, lireLa géophagie chez les perroquets). Des chercheurs de la station biologique de l'université du Montana observent par exemple régulièrement des troupes de Roselins de Cassin (Carpodacus cassinii), de Becs-croisés des sapins (Loxia curvirostra), de Tarins des pins (Carduelis pinus) et de Gros-becs errants (Coccothraustes vespertinus) se rassemblant sur de petites zones sans végétation riches en sels minéraux. Des becs-croisés ont aussi été vus buvant de l'eau de mer.

Ces oiseaux peuvent également prendre ces grains de sel pour de petits cailloux (des gastrolithes, ou "grit") qu'ils stockent dans leur gésier (jusqu'à leur usure complète) pour broyer leurs aliments (lireLe système digestif des oiseaux).

Tous ces petits oiseaux meurent généralement suite à des collisions avec les véhicules, mais aussi à cause de la toxicité du sel ingéré en trop grande quantité. Une étude canadienne menée sur le Moineau domestique (Passer domesticus) et publiée en 2005 dans le Journal of Wildlife Diseases avait montré que l'ingestion de quelques granules de sel suffisait à provoquer un empoisonnement. Dans un article publié en 2014 dans la revue Ardea, des ornithologues tchèques ont décrit un cas de mortalité groupée de Tarins des aulnes (Carduelis spinus) : ils avaient mangé des gros granules de sel qu'ils avaient pris pour des cailloux, et des analyses cliniques ont montré qu'ils avaient été intoxiqués.

La difficulté à repérer les cadavres et le faible taux de signalement suggèrent que le nombre de passereaux qui meurent à cause du salage des routes est sûrement sous-estimé. Une solution possible serait notamment de ne répandre que des grains de sel de très petite taille (moins de 2 mm) pour éviter qu’ils ne soient pris pour des gastrolithes.


Giant penguin fossil shows bird was taller than most humans

Iturria: The Guardian

Analysis of 37m-year-old fossil unearthed in Antarctica shows species would have dwarfed today’s biggest living penguins
Emperor Penguin walking on ice in Prydz Bay, eastern Antarctica
Palaeeudyptes klekowskii would have dwarfed today’s biggest living penguin, the emperor penguin. Photograph: Tui De Roy/Corbis
A penguin species that lived millions of years ago would have dwarfed today’s biggest living penguins and stood as tall as most humans, according to analysis of fossils by a team of researchers from the La Plata Museum in Argentina.
Palaeeudyptes klekowskii has already been dubbed the “colossus penguin”, and is the most complete fossil ever uncovered from the Antarctic. The unearthed bones are 37m years old and include the longest recorded fused ankle-foot bone as well as parts of a wing bone.
From those bones, researchers estimated the species would have stood 2m tall from toe to beak tip, and weighed as much as 115kg. Standing normally, beak down, the penguin would have be around 1.6m tall, the team reported in the journal Geobios.
By comparison, the tallest and heaviest living species, the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), stands 1.1m high and weighs just under 50kg.
Being of a larger build has its advantages, as bigger penguins could dive underwater to hunt fish for significantly longer periods of time compared to smaller species. A penguin the size of Palaeeudyptes klekowskii could stay underwater for up to 40 minutes.
How the giant penguin would have measured against humans
The bones were found at the La Meseta formation, Seymour Island, which is part of the Antarctic peninsula with a wide range and abundance of penguin bones. In prehistoric times, the region was warmer with 10 to 14 different penguin species living together.
P klekowskii is not the only giant prehistoric penguin to be discovered – in 2007 of a penguin species known as Icadyptes salasi, was found in Peru, living 36m years ago. It had a slightly smaller height of 1.5m.


Why Penguins Don't Fly - Pottorro kontuak

Iturria: ScienceNOW

Why Penguins Don't Fly

on 20 May 2013, 3:10 PM |  
March of the penguins. The labored flight of the
thick-billed murre (main image) helps show why 
the Emperor penguin (inset) sticks to walking and 
Credit: Kyle H. Elliott; (inset) Copyright Samuel Blanc
Long, long ago, O Best Beloved, the ancestor of the penguins could soar through the air. So why did the penguin give up flight? Rudyard Kipling never wrote a Just So story with an answer, but now scientists have one: The penguin doesn't fly because it would rather swim.
A new study of murres, penguinlike seabirds that retain the ability to take wing, shows just how costly and inefficient it is to be both a diver and a flyer. The new findings back the long-held hypothesis that penguins gave up the heavens more than 70 million years ago to become kings of the waves.
"This study contributes a lot by putting hard numbers on the energy costs of moving through both the aerial and aquatic realms," writes Daniel Ksepka of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who studies penguin evolution and was not involved with the research, in an e-mail.
For insights into why ancestral penguins might have abandoned their command of the air, the researchers turned to the thick-billed murre, Uria lomvia, which nests on cliffs in Alaska, Canada, and other northerly sites. It propels itself through the water with its wings to scoop up krill and plankton, but it also flies—laboriously.
Murres "are awful flyers," says graduate student Kyle Elliott of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, an author of the new paper. "They beat their wings really, really fast, and they're horrible at landing."
To study murres nesting in northern Canada, the researchers carried shotguns loaded with rubber bullets to ward off the local polar bears and lived in a cabin surrounded by an electric "bear fence." Between surprise visits from bears, the scientists lassoed murres and injected them with tracer molecules to track their energy usage. They also outfitted the murres with sensors to learn how deep they dove and how much time they spent in air, underwater, and on land.
The results show that being a murre is hard work. The animals expend more energy per minute of flight than any other bird, surpassing even the previous champion, the bar-headed goose, famed for flying over the Himalayas. On the wing, murres burn energy at 31 times their rate at rest, the highest known ratio in a bird, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When other vertebrates are working hardest, they burn energy at only 25 times their resting rate.
Murres fare better in the water, where they're more efficient than many other birds, but they could still use a few tips on their stroke. The researchers found that compared with penguins of the same size, murres expend far more energy while diving, indicating that giving up flight raised their efficiency.
The results show that murres "are really at the edge of what a bird can do," says University of Missouri, St. Louis, seabird ecologist Robert Ricklefs, an author of the paper. If the murre's all-purpose wing became more like a penguin's stubby flipper, swimming would be easier, because a short wing creates less drag in the water. But flying would be nearly impossible, because a short wing makes it harder to stay aloft.
The results run contrary to assumptions that "all birds had the same flight cost, more or less," Elliott says. For murres, "we were able to show that flight costs were much greater than expected … [and] demonstrate the cost of not being flightless." Even so, flight allows murres to flee predators and zip between nest and foraging grounds. For ancestral penguins, on the other hand, flightlessness was apparently a better deal, enabling them to grow larger, helping them dive deeper, swim faster, and stay underwater longer, Ricklefs says. And that meant they nabbed more and bigger prey.
The study provides valuable confirmation of the idea that ancient penguins swapped flight for underwater prowess, known as the tradeoff hypothesis, says Chris Thaxter, a seabird ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology in Thetford, U.K. "This is a major step forward … in understanding how the tradeoff hypothesis works."

Seabird Bones Reveal Changes in Open-Ocean Food Chain

Iturria: ScienceDaily:

May 13, 2013 — Remains of endangered Hawaiian petrels -- both ancient and modern -- show how drastically today's open seas fish menu has changed.

Excavated bones of Hawaiian petrels – birds that spend the majority of their lives foraging the Pacific – show substantial change in the birds' eating habits. (Credit: Courtesy of Brittany Hance, Imaging Lab, Smithsonian Institution)
A research team, led by Michigan State University and Smithsonian Institution scientists, analyzed the bones of Hawaiian petrels -- birds that spend the majority of their lives foraging the open waters of the Pacific. They found that the substantial change in petrels' eating habits, eating prey that are lower rather than higher in the food chain, coincides with the growth of industrialized fishing.
The birds' dramatic shift in diet, shown in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, leaves scientists pondering the fate of petrels as well as wondering how many other species face similar challenges.
"Our bone record is alarming because it suggests that open-ocean food webs are changing on a large scale due to human influence," said Peggy Ostrom, co-author and MSU zoologist. "Our study is among the first to address one of the great mysteries of biological oceanography -- whether fishing has gone beyond an influence on targeted species to affect nontarget species and potentially, entire food webs in the open ocean."
Hawaiian petrels' diet is recorded in the chemistry of their bones. By studying the bones' ratio of nitrogen-15 and nitrogen-14 isotopes, researchers can tell at what level in the food chain the birds are feasting; generally, the larger the isotope ratio, the bigger the prey (fish, squid and crustaceans).
Between 4,000 and 100 years ago, petrels had high isotope ratios, indicating they ate bigger prey. After the onset of industrial fishing, which began extending past the continental shelves around 1950, the isotope ratios declined, indicating a species-wide shift to a diet of smaller fish and other prey.
Much research has focused on the impact of fishing near the coasts. In contrast, the open ocean covers nearly half of Earth's surface. But due to a lack of historical records, fishing's impact on most open-ocean animal populations is completely unknown, said lead author Anne Wiley, formerly an MSU doctoral student and now a Smithsonian postdoctoral researcher.
"Hawaiian petrels spend the majority of their lives foraging over vast expanses of open ocean," she said. "In their search for food, they've done what scientists can only dream of. For thousands of years, they've captured a variety of fish, squid and crustaceans from a large portion of the North Pacific Ocean, and a record of their diet is preserved in their bones."
Addressing fishery impact through a chronology of bones is remarkable. Most marine animals die at sea, where their bones are buried on the ocean bottom. But after three decades of fossil collection in the Hawaiian Islands -- the breeding grounds of the Hawaiian petrel -- co-author Helen James of the Smithsonian Institution and her colleagues have amassed a collection of more than 17,000 ancient Hawaiian petrel bones.
"The petrels breed in burrows and caves where, if they die, their bones are likely to be preserved for a long time," James said. "It's fortuitous to find such a rich bone record for a rare oceanic predator."
Further studies are needed to explore how the shift down the food chain is affecting Hawaiian petrels. For a coastal seabird, however, a similar shift in diet has been associated with decreases in population -- bad news for a federally protected bird.
Since petrels exploit fishing grounds from the equator to near the Aleutian Islands -- an area larger than the continental United States -- their foraging habits are quite telling. If petrels, signal flares for open-ocean food webs, have had a species-wide change in feeding habits, how many other predators around the world has fishing impacted? And what role do consumers play?
"What you choose to put on your dinner plate -- that's your connection with the endangered Hawaiian petrel, and with many other marine species," Wiley said.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, MSU and the Smithsonian Institution.
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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Michigan State University.
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Journal Reference:
  1. Anne E. Wiley, Peggy H. Ostrom, Andreanna J. Welch, Robert C. Fleischer, Hasand Gandhi, John R. Southon, Thomas W. Stafford, Jr., Jay F. Penniman, Darcy Hu, Fern P. Duvall, and Helen F. James. Millennial-scale isotope records from a wide-ranging predator show evidence of recent human impact to oceanic food webs. PNAS, May 13, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1300213110