MEPS 552:255-269 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11730

Forecasting ocean warming impacts on seabird demography: a case study on the European storm petrel

Cecilia Soldatini1, Yuri Vladimir Albores-Barajas1,*, Bruno Massa2, Olivier Gimenez3

1Unidad La Paz, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, La Paz, Baja California Sur, 23050, Mexico
2Department of Agriculture and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale Scienze 13, 90128 Palermo, Italy
3CEFE UMR 5175, CNRS, Université de Montpellier, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, EPHE, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bottom-up climatic forcing has been shown to be influential for a variety of marine taxa, but evidence on seabird populations is scarce. Seasonal variation in environmental conditions can have an indirect effect on subsequent reproduction, which, given the longevity and single-brooding of seabirds, may affect population dynamics. Our study focuses on linking the effect of oceanographic conditions (from 1991 to 2013) to the fecundity and consequently population growth rate of the Mediterranean subspecies of the European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis. In this study, we examined 23 yr of >5400 capture–mark-recaptures (CMR) and modelled the probability of skipping reproduction as a function of oceanographic variables using CMR models. We demonstrate that a decrease in sea surface temperature in the pre‑breeding period negatively influences skipping propensity, and therefore hypothesize that this behaviour would have significant influence on population abundance over time. For this reason, we analysed population growth as a function of skipping probability as affected by oceanographic conditions. We used stochastic demographic models to forecast the fate of the population, and evaluated contrasted environmental condition scenarios. As a result, we found that a decrease in frequency of cold winter events would probably reduce skipping propensity, with a positive effect on the population as a whole.


KEY WORDS: Capture-mark-recapture · Environmental stochasticity · Hydrobates pelagicus · Population growth rate · Senescence


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Cite this article as: Soldatini C, Albores-Barajas YV, Massa B, Gimenez O (2016) Forecasting ocean warming impacts on seabird demography: a case study on the European storm petrel. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 552:255-269. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11730

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