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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI:

Climate variability and breeding parameters of a trans-hemispheric migratory seabird over seven decades

Cassandra A. Price*, Klaas Hartmann, Timothy J Emery, Eric J. Woehler, Clive R. McMahon, Mark A. Hindell

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate variability affects physical oceanographic systems and environmental conditions at multiple spatial and temporal scales. These changes can influence biological and ecological processes, from primary productivity to higher trophic levels. Short-tailed shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris) are transhemispheric migratory procellariiform seabirds that forage on secondary consumers such as fish (myctophids) and zooplankton (euphausiids). In this study we investigate the breeding parameters of the short-tailed shearwater from a colony of 100 to 200 breeding pairs at Fisher Island, Tasmania, Australia for the period 1950 to 2012, with the aim to quantify the relationship between breeding parameters with large-scale climate indices in the Northern (i.e. Northern Pacific Index and Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and Southern Hemispheres (i.e. El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Southern Annular Mode). Through the use of Generalised Linear Models, we found that breeding participation among short-tailed shearwaters was affected by climate variability with a 12-month temporal lag. Furthermore, breeding success decreased in years of increased rainfall at the colony. These findings demonstrate that both large-scale climate indices and local environmental conditions could explain some of the variability among breeding parameters of the short-tailed shearwater.