Global seabird responses to forage fish depletion - One-third for the birds

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Determining the form of key predator-prey relationships is critical for understanding marine ecosystem dynamics. Using a comprehensive global database, we quantified the effect of fluctuations in food abundance on seabird breeding success. We identified a threshold in prey (fish and krill, termed “forage fish”) abundance below which seabirds experience consistently reduced and more variable productivity. This response was common to all seven ecosystems and 14 bird species examined within the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans. The threshold approximated one-third of the maximum prey biomass observed in long-term studies. This provides an indicator of the minimal forage fish biomass needed to sustain seabird productivity over the long term.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Global seabird responses to forage fish depletion - One-third for the birds
Series title Science
DOI 10.1126/science.1212928
Volume 334
Issue 6063
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Publisher location New York, NY
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 4 p.
First page 1703
Last page 1706
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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