Dataset Information


Climate warming decreases the survival of the little auk (Alle alle), a high Arctic avian predator.

ABSTRACT: Delayed maturity, low fecundity, and high adult survival are traits typical for species with a long-life expectancy. For such species, even a small change in adult survival can strongly affect the population dynamics and viability. We examined the effects of both regional and local climatic variability on adult survival of the little auk, a long-lived and numerous Arctic seabird species. We conducted a mark-resighting study for a period of 8 years (2006-2013) simultaneously at three little auk breeding sites that are influenced by the West Spitsbergen Current, which is the main carrier of warm, Atlantic water into the Arctic. We found that the survival of adult little auks was negatively correlated with both the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index and local summer sea surface temperature (SST), with a time lag of 2 and 1 year, respectively. The effects of NAO and SST were likely mediated through a change in food quality and/or availability: (1) reproduction, growth, and development of Arctic Calanus copepods, the main prey of little auks, are negatively influenced by a reduction in sea ice, reduced ice algal production, and an earlier but shorter lasting spring bloom, all of which result from an increased NAO; (2) a high sea surface temperature shortens the reproductive period of Arctic Calanus, decreasing the number of eggs produced. A synchronous variation in survival rates at the different colonies indicates that climatic forcing was similar throughout the study area. Our findings suggest that a predicted warmer climate in the Arctic will negatively affect the population dynamics of the little auk, a high Arctic avian predator.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC4161185 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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