Effects of climate change and fisheries bycatch on Southern Ocean seabirds : a review
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KeywordSeabirds; Bycatch; Population dynamics; Demography; Distribution; Phenology; Sea ice; Sea-surface temperature
Over the last century, major climate changes and intense human exploitation of natural living resources have occurred in the Southern Ocean, potentially affecting its ecosystems up to top marine predators. Fisheries may also directly affect seabirds through bycatch and additional food resources provided by discards. The past 20 yr of research has seen an increasing number of studies investigating the effects of climate change and fisheries activities on Southern Ocean seabirds. Here, we review these studies in order to identify patterns in changes in distribution, phenology, demography and population dynamics in response to changes in climate and fisheries bycatch. Shifts in distribution and breeding phenology were documented in parallel to increases in sea-surface temperatures and changes in sea-ice cover. Above all warm sea-surface temperatures negatively affected demographic parameters, although exceptions were found. Relationships suggest non-linear effects of sea-ice cover on demographic parameters and population dynamics, with optimum sea-ice cover conditions appearing to be the rule. Fishing efforts were mainly negatively related to survival rates, and only for a few species positively related to breeding success. A handful of studies found that chronic mortality of immature birds due to fisheries negatively affected populations. Climate factors and fisheries bycatch may simultaneously affect demographic parameters in a complex way, which can be integrated in population models to project population trajectories under future climate or fisheries scenarios. Needed are studies that integrate other environmental factors, trophic levels, foraging behaviour, climate−fisheries interactions, and the mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity, such as some pioneering studies conducted elsewhere.
Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Ecology Progreee Series 454 (2012): 285-307, doi:10.3354/meps09616.