Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Trends in bird and seal populations as indicators of a system shift in the Southern Ocean

  • HENRI WEIMERSKIRCH (a1), PABLO INCHAUSTI (a2), CHRISTOPHE GUINET (a1) and CHRISTOPHE BARBRAUD (a1)
Abstract

Although world oceans have been warming over the past 50 years, the impact on biotic components is poorly understood because of the difficulty of obtaining long-term datasets on marine organisms. The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in global climate and there is growing evidence of climate warming. We show that air temperatures measured by meteorological stations have steadily increased over the past 50 years in the southern Indian Ocean, the increase starting in mid 1960s and stabilizing in mid 1980s, being particularly important in the sub-Antarctic sector. At the same time, with a time lag of 2–9 years with temperatures, the population size of most seabirds and seals monitored on several breeding sites have decreased severely, whilst two species have increased at the same time. These changes, together with indications of a simultaneous decrease in secondary production in sub-Antarctic waters and the reduction of sea-ice extent further south, indicate that a major system shift has occurred in the Indian Ocean part of the Southern Ocean. This shift illustrates the high sensitivity of marine ecosystems, and especially upper trophic level predators, to climatic changes.

Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed