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MEPS 723:73-117 (2023)  -  DOI:

Effects of wind on the movement, behavior, energetics, and life history of seabirds

L. H. Thorne1,*, T. A. Clay2,3, R. A. Phillips4, L. G. Silvers1, E. D. Wakefield5

1School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000, USA
2Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
3People and Nature, Environmental Defense Fund, 123 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
4British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
5Department of Geography, Durham University, Lower Mountjoy, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: For decades, studies have highlighted links between wind patterns and the behavior, ecology, distribution, energetics and life history of seabirds. However, only relatively recently have advancements in tracking technologies and improvements in the resolution of globally-available wind data allowed wind impacts on seabirds to be quantified across multiple spatiotemporal scales. Here, we review and synthesize current knowledge of the effects of wind on seabirds. We first describe global patterns of wind circulation and relevant atmospheric processes and discuss the relationship between seabird morphology, flight performance and behavior relative to wind. We then develop a conceptual model linking seabird movement strategies to wind, morphology, flight capabilities and central-place constraint. Finally, we examine how wind influences seabird populations via effects on flight efficiency and energetics, and wind impacts associated with climate variability and severe weather. We conclude by highlighting research priorities for advancing our understanding of the effects of wind on seabird ecology and behavior; these include assessing how and to what extent seabirds use ocean waves for efficient flight, understanding how seabirds sense and anticipate wind patterns, and examining how wind has shaped seabird evolution. Future research should also focus on assessing how wind modulates habitat accessibility, and how this knowledge could be incorporated into theory of seabird habitat use. Moreover, approaches that focus on mechanistic links between climate, wind and demography are needed to assess population-level effects, and will be imperative to understanding how seabirds may be impacted by climate-driven changes to wind patterns.

KEY WORDS: Marine birds · Morphology · Flight · Speed · Waves · Climate · Reanalysis · Wind patterns · Review

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Cite this article as: Thorne LH, Clay TA, Phillips RA, Silvers LG, Wakefield ED (2023) Effects of wind on the movement, behavior, energetics, and life history of seabirds. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 723:73-117.

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