Seabird responses to a changing Bering Sea

Photo: Chris Barger

The eastern Bering Sea is well known for its spatial and temporal variability. Significant inter-annual changes in abundance of zooplankton and forage fish are related to the timing of sea-ice retreat. In this Theme Section, studies explore how different species of seabirds inhabiting the region respond to contrasting patterns of spring sea-ice retreat and summer temperatures. Data from the pelagic realm explore climate-linked variability in the abundance of seabirds since the mid-1970s, and the responses of seabird distributions to years with early and late sea-ice retreat. Colony-based studies, relying on bird-borne data-loggers and physiological parameters, examine how long-term changes in the foraging and migratory behavior of individuals during cold and warm years may affect birds breeding on the Pribilof Islands. A unique aspect of this Theme Section is the availability of both colony-based and pelagic studies of seabirds that overlap in space and time. This body of work aims to provide an overview of seabird responses to oceanographic variability in the eastern Bering Sea, spanning a period of 100 years and an immense oceanographic region.


Editors: Kyle Elliott, Rory Wilson

Idea: George Hunt, Alexander Kitaysky


Individual Theme Section articles are published 'Advance View' as soon as they are ready. Once the Theme Section is completed, they will be fully published in a regular volume of MEPS and given a volume number and page range. Theme Section literature cites within the articles will also be updated. Occasionally other changes or corrections may have been necessary between the Advance View version and the Final version appearing in the MEPS volume.

Kokubun N, Takahashi A, Paredes R, Young RC, Sato NN, Yamamoto T, Kikuchi DM, Kitaiskaia E, Ito M, Watanuki Y, Will A, Lauth R, Romano MD, Kitaysky AS

Inter-annual climate variability affects foraging behavior and nutritional state of thick-billed murres breeding in the southeastern Bering Sea

MEPS TS BME:AV 1 | Full text in pdf format

Hunt GL, Jr , Renner M, Kuletz KJ, Salo S, Eisner L, Ressler PH, Ladd C, Santora JA

Timing of sea-ice retreat affects the distribution of seabirds and their prey in the southeastern Bering Sea

MEPS TS BME:AV 2 | Full text in pdf format