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MEPS 627:155-170 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13066

Winter extratropical cyclone influence on seabird survival: variation between and within common eider Somateria mollissima populations

L. Guéry1,*, S. Descamps2, K. I. Hodges3, R. Pradel4, B. Moe5, S. A. Hanssen6, K. E. Erikstad6,7, G.W. Gabrielsen2, H. G. Gilchrist8, S. Jenouvrier9,10, J. Bêty1

1Département de Biologie and Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1, Canada
2Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Center, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
3Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading RG6 6AH, UK
4CEFE UMR 5175, CNRS - Université de Montpellier - Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier - EPHE, 34090 Montpellier, France
5Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 7034 Trondheim, Norway
6Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Arctic Ecology Department, FRAM - High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, PO Box 6606 Langnes, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
7Faculty of Science and Technology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Post box 6050 Langnes, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
8National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada
9Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mailstop 50, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
10Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, UMR7372 CNRS, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Extratropical cyclones (ETCs) play a primary role in determining the variation in local weather and marine conditions in the mid-latitudes. ETCs have a broad range of intensities, from benign to extreme, and their paths, frequency, and intensity may change with global warming. However, how ETCs, and cyclones in general, currently affect marine wildlife is poorly studied and remains substantially unexplored. To understand how winter ETCs affect the inter-annual variability of adult seabird survival, we used capture-mark-recapture datasets collected in 2 arctic (northern Canada and Svalbard) and 1 subarctic (northern Norway) breeding populations of common eider Somateria mollissima over periods of 19, 16 and 30 yr, respectively. We found significant negative correlations between winter ETC activity and female eider survival, but different mechanisms appear to be involved in the different studied populations. The number of winter ETCs, extreme or not, was linked to survival without lags in the Canadian population, whereas amplitude and duration of extreme winter ETCs (with time lags) impacted female adult survival in the Svalbard and northern Norway eider breeding populations. We hypothesise that fjords in the wintering grounds of some populations act as climatic shelters and provide natural protection, and hence could partly explain inter-population heterogeneity in the response to ETCs. We suggest that ETCs represent a likely mechanism behind the frequently reported relationship between North Atlantic Oscillation and seabird survival in the North Atlantic.


KEY WORDS: Extreme weather and climatic events · Multi-event models · Hidden states and mixture models · NAO · Arctic · Inter and intra-population heterogeneity · Migratory tactics


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Cite this article as: Guéry L, Descamps S, Hodges KI, Pradel R and others (2019) Winter extratropical cyclone influence on seabird survival: variation between and within common eider Somateria mollissima populations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 627:155-170. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13066

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