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Climate change threatens the slavery of loyal albatross

Climate change threatens the slavery of loyal albatross

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Climate change threatens the slavery of loyal albatross

© Copyright: Francesco Ventura Use only in connection with the study Image: Francesco Ventura

The “divorce rate” of albatrosses varies greatly from year to year

These are: Francesco Ventura

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Albatross is usually associated with life. However, legendary loyalty is broken under difficult environmental conditions. Researchers have shown for the first time that birds separate especially in years when water temperatures are higher.

aIbatrosses are among the most loyal of all animal species. Year after year, partners return to the common breeding site – with a life expectancy of several decades. But researchers have now discovered that there is a certain factor that can lead to the breakup: challenging environmental conditions.

In years with warm sea surface temperatures – as can increasingly be expected in the context of climate change – species pairs separated more often than under more favorable conditions. The scientists cautioned that environmental disturbances in the binary bond may also be a previously overlooked consequence of global changes in the course of climate change in other species.

With long-lived seabirds such as albatrosses, it can be beneficial to bond closely with a partner. You benefit from years of combined experience and coordination. Once they grow up, they have birds In addition, survival rates are high – risk A Vogel She waits in vain for her partner and misses the breeding season. From an evolutionary point of view, then, it is worthwhile to abandon the exhausting search for promising new partners.

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Albatross pairs come ashore almost exclusively to take care of the brood and the brood, usually only one egg. Favorite nesting sites are the cliffs on islands off Antarctica, where heavy birds can take advantage of the wind when they take off. Although they look elegant in the air, the take-off and landing of animals often look clumsy and awkward.

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The team led by Francesco Ventura from the University of Lisbon uses data obtained on black albatrosses in the Falkland Islands since 2003. The population there is generally increasing, and the survival rate of chicks is very high. It is lower especially in years when sea surface temperatures in the birds’ preferred hunting grounds are warmer than normal, altering the food chain at the expense of the albatross.

© Copyright: Francesco Ventura Use only in connection with the study Image: Francesco Ventura

The albatross benefits from many years of combined experience

These are: Francesco Ventura

According to data collected from five colonies, the “divorce rate” varied annually and ranged from one to eight percent. On average, only 37 out of every 1,000 couples break up from season to season. It did not include cases in which the partner did not return to the hatchery, i.e. most likely died. The pairs separated mainly after a failed breeding season, that is, when they could not raise their young together, the scientists said in the specialized journal “Royal Society B: Biological Sciences “berichten. This, in turn, was especially the case in years with higher water temperatures. Females were more likely to find a partner than males.

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Previous studies have shown that adverse environmental conditions and food shortages in seabirds are associated with higher levels of stress hormones. A woman who is stressed by efforts – which may be fruitless – for a difficult breeding season is likely to loosen the bond with a partner and look for a new partner, even if the couple has previously had successful incubations.

The researchers conclude that their study provides evidence of a clear influence of environmental conditions on the frequency of separation in long-lived monogamous species. Similar phenomena can also be found in other bird and mammal species. In the context of the massive changes caused by climate change, this could be a factor that was previously underestimated.

The black albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) breeds on the islands around Antarctica, and there are many breeding pairs especially in the Falkland Islands. Their narrow and long wings can extend up to two and a half meters. Birds often sail across the sea for weeks without a break and can cover vast distances. The staple foods are squidfish and other marine animals. The black albatross has achieved some notoriety and has visited the North Sea several times in recent years, including in Sylt and Heligoland.

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