Little auks buffer the impact of current Arctic climate change

David Grémillet, Jorg Welcker, Nina J. Karnovsky, Wojciech Walkusz, Margaret E. Hall, Jérôme Fort, Zachary W. Brown, John R. Speakman, Ann M.A. Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate models predict a multi-degree warming of the North Atlantic in the 21st century. A research priority is to understand the effect of such changes upon marine organisms. With 40 to 80 million individuals, planktivorous little auks Alle alle are an essential component of pelagic food webs in this region that is potentially highly susceptible to climatic effects. Using an integrative study of their behaviour, physiology and fitness at 3 study sites, we evaluated the effect of ocean warming on little auks across the Greenland Sea in 2005 to 2007. Contrary to our hypothesis, the birds responded to a wide range of sea surface temperatures via plasticity of their foraging behaviour, allowing them to maintain their fitness levels. Predicted effects of climate change are significantly attenuated by such plasticity, confounding attempts to forecast future effects of climate change using envelope models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume454
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2012

Fingerprint

Arctic region
buffers
climate change
climate models
surface temperature
food webs
plasticity
fitness
physiology
warming
oceans
foraging
birds
organisms
twenty first century
foraging behavior
food web
climate modeling
sea surface temperature
bird

Keywords

  • Behavioural plasticity
  • Envelope models
  • Global warming
  • North Atlantic
  • Pelagic food web
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Cite this

Grémillet, D., Welcker, J., Karnovsky, N. J., Walkusz, W., Hall, M. E., Fort, J., ... Harding, A. M. A. (2012). Little auks buffer the impact of current Arctic climate change. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 454, 197-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09590

Little auks buffer the impact of current Arctic climate change. / Grémillet, David; Welcker, Jorg; Karnovsky, Nina J.; Walkusz, Wojciech; Hall, Margaret E.; Fort, Jérôme; Brown, Zachary W.; Speakman, John R.; Harding, Ann M.A.

In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 454, 21.05.2012, p. 197-206.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Grémillet, D, Welcker, J, Karnovsky, NJ, Walkusz, W, Hall, ME, Fort, J, Brown, ZW, Speakman, JR & Harding, AMA 2012, 'Little auks buffer the impact of current Arctic climate change' Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 454, pp. 197-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09590
Grémillet D, Welcker J, Karnovsky NJ, Walkusz W, Hall ME, Fort J et al. Little auks buffer the impact of current Arctic climate change. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2012 May 21;454:197-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09590
Grémillet, David ; Welcker, Jorg ; Karnovsky, Nina J. ; Walkusz, Wojciech ; Hall, Margaret E. ; Fort, Jérôme ; Brown, Zachary W. ; Speakman, John R. ; Harding, Ann M.A. / Little auks buffer the impact of current Arctic climate change. In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2012 ; Vol. 454. pp. 197-206.
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abstract = "Climate models predict a multi-degree warming of the North Atlantic in the 21st century. A research priority is to understand the effect of such changes upon marine organisms. With 40 to 80 million individuals, planktivorous little auks Alle alle are an essential component of pelagic food webs in this region that is potentially highly susceptible to climatic effects. Using an integrative study of their behaviour, physiology and fitness at 3 study sites, we evaluated the effect of ocean warming on little auks across the Greenland Sea in 2005 to 2007. Contrary to our hypothesis, the birds responded to a wide range of sea surface temperatures via plasticity of their foraging behaviour, allowing them to maintain their fitness levels. Predicted effects of climate change are significantly attenuated by such plasticity, confounding attempts to forecast future effects of climate change using envelope models.",
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