Foraging distribution of little auks (Alle alle) across the Greenland Sea: implications of present and future Arctic climate change

Abstract : The Arctic is undergoing widespread warming. In order to understand the impact of climate change on Arctic marine food webs, we studied the at-sea distribution of foraging little auks in contrasting conditions of the Greenland Sea. While the eastern side of the Greenland Sea has experienced recent warming, the western side is still dominated by cold, Arctic water in the East Greenland Current. We hypothesized that foraging little auks would be found in greatest abundance in cold Arctic waters bearing more lipid-rich prey, allowing them to deliver more energy-rich food to their chicks. To test our hypotheses, we made ship-borne bird observations and zooplankton tows, as well as analyses of chick meals at 2 little auk colonies adjacent to 3 distinct water masses in the Greenland Sea. Associated with the coldest water in the East Greenland Current, we found the highest concentrations of large Calanus copepods (C. glacialis and C. hyperboreus), as well as the highest concentrations of foraging little auks, indicating a relationship that is likely to be disrupted by increasing water temperatures. To assess potential future impacts of ocean warming, we used a coupled atmosphere-ocean global climate model (AOGCM) to predict Greenland Sea sea-surface temperatures over the study area at the end of the 21st century. Our results suggest that 4 of 8 little auk breeding colonies in the North Atlantic may be negatively impacted as temperatures exceed the thermal preferenda of large Calanus, which is the preferred prey of little auks during the breeding season
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Marine Ecology Progress Series, Inter-Research, 2010, 415, pp.ISSN: 1616-1599. 〈10.3354/meps08749〉
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Soumis le : mardi 18 décembre 2012 - 16:13:25
Dernière modification le : mardi 3 juillet 2018 - 11:33:23

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Nina Karnovsky, Ann Harding, Wojciech Walkusz, Sławomir Kwaśniewski, Ilona Goszczko, et al.. Foraging distribution of little auks (Alle alle) across the Greenland Sea: implications of present and future Arctic climate change. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Inter-Research, 2010, 415, pp.ISSN: 1616-1599. 〈10.3354/meps08749〉. 〈hal-00766683〉

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