New research from scientists in the UW Center for Ecosystem Sentinels about the impact of climate change on a migratory marine predator was recently published in UW News.
Scientists believe that climate change will reshape ecosystems through two types of events: short-term, extreme events — or “pulses” — and long-term changes, or “presses.” Understanding the effects of presses and pulses is essential as conservationists and policymakers try to preserve ecosystems and safeguard biodiversity.
The UW team has discovered how different presses and pulses are impacting Magellanic penguins over nearly four decades and found that, though individual presses and pulses impacted penguins in a variety of ways, both were equally important for the future survival of penguin populations. They also found that these types of climate changes, taken together, are leading to an overall population decline at their historically largest breeding site.
Their findings will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a paper authored by Dr. T.J. Clark-Wolf, a postdoctoral researcher in biology; Dr. Briana Abrahms, an assistant professor of biology; Dr. Dee Boersma, professor of biology and founder of the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels; and Dr. Ginger Rebstock, a research scientist with the center.
The decades of data faithfully collected at Punta Tombo by Dr. Boersma and her collaborators on Magellanic penguins made it possible for the authors to consider the effects of long-term climate changes and extreme events in combination, and as a result, to better predict how climate will impact this population in the future. It is this same approach, they believe, that can help conservationists and scientists understand how climate shifts will shape other long-lived animal species across our warming globe.
Read the full story on UW News.