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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 676:219-231 (2021)  -  DOI:

Inter-population synchrony in adult survival and effects of climate and extreme weather in non-breeding areas of Atlantic puffins

T. K. Reiertsen1,*,#, K. Layton-Matthews1,#, K. E. Erikstad1,2, K. Hodges3, M. Ballesteros1, T. Anker-Nilssen4, R. T. Barrett5, S. Benjaminsen1, M. Bogdanova6, S. Christensen-Dalsgaard4, F. Daunt6, N. Dehnhard4, M. P. Harris6, M. Langset4, S.-H. Lorentsen4, M. Newell6, V. S. Bråthen4, I. Støyle-Bringsvor7, G.-H. Systad8, S. Wanless6

1Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, FRAM Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
2Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
3Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6ET, UK
4Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 7485 Trondheim, Norway
5Department of Natural Sciences, Tromsø University Museum, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
6UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik EH26 0QB, UK
7Støyle 19, 6089 Sandshamn, Norway
8Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 5006 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author:
#These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Seabirds are undergoing drastic declines globally and spend the non-breeding season at sea, making it challenging to study the drivers of their survival. Harsh weather and changes in climate conditions can have large impacts on seabird population dynamics through increased mortality. The intensity and persistence of extreme events are forecasted to increase with global warming. As shared conditions can induce population synchrony, multi-population studies of key demographic parameters are imperative to explore the influence of climate change. We used long-term mark-recapture data and position data to determine non-breeding stop-over areas of 5 Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) populations over a latitudinal gradient in the Northeast Atlantic (56°11’-70°23’N). We investigated synchrony in adult survival in relation to shared stop-over areas. We quantified effects of extreme extra-tropical cyclones (ETCs) specific to populations’ stop-over areas and the North Atlantic Oscillation on adult survival. Populations with overlapping stop-over areas exhibited temporal synchrony in survival rates. Winter ETCs negatively influenced survival in 1 population, which was the one most exposed to extreme weather, but did not directly influence adult survival in the other 4 populations. Synchrony among populations with shared stop-over areas highlights the importance of these areas for adult survival, a key life-history rate. However, extreme weather was not identified as a driving factor for the majority of study populations. This suggests other factors in these areas, likely related to bottom-up trophic interactions, as environmental drivers of synchrony in the survival of Atlantic puffins.

KEY WORDS: Non-breeding distribution · Mark-recapture · Synchrony · North Atlantic Oscillation · Extreme weather · Extra-tropical cyclones · Seabirds · Fratercula arctica

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Cite this article as: Reiertsen TK, Layton-Matthews K, Erikstad KE, Hodges K and others (2021) Inter-population synchrony in adult survival and effects of climate and extreme weather in non-breeding areas of Atlantic puffins. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 676:219-231.

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