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wili

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Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« on: August 10, 2013, 06:22:12 PM »
I was looking for an appropriate thread to put this link in and was surprised not to find anything on general effects of ice loss and warming on Arctic wildlife. Effects on, for example, polar bears is often the first thing mentioned in the popular press, so maybe people were trying to avoid the cliche?

Anyway, here's the latest from Climate Central:

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctics-rapid-sea-ice-loss-threatens-wildlife-16331

Arctic’s Rapid Sea Ice Loss Threatens Wildlife

The loss of Arctic sea ice is bad news for the Pacific walrus, and for polar bears: the walrus has further to swim to dig for clams on the sea floor, and the polar bear has less chance of catching seals. But the real problems begin at the base of the food chain.

Since the end of the last century, more than two million square kilometers of sea ice have disappeared, and the loss of summer ice is accelerating. Researchers call this “a stunning loss of habitat for sea ice algae and sub-ice plankton which together account for 57 percent of the total annual primary production in the Arctic Ocean.”...

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Anne

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 11:49:00 PM »
Hi Wili,

Thanks for posting this. There are a couple of Wildlife comments on the Off-topic section. I didn't know where else to post it. It's an important issue IMO, though not many agree.  BTW, there has been a lot of coverage in the last couple of days of the carcase of an emaciated polar bear, but the widespread attribution to climate change seems tenuous.

ritter

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 05:36:52 AM »
Hi Wili,

Thanks for posting this. There are a couple of Wildlife comments on the Off-topic section. I didn't know where else to post it. It's an important issue IMO, though not many agree.  BTW, there has been a lot of coverage in the last couple of days of the carcase of an emaciated polar bear, but the widespread attribution to climate change seems tenuous.
We have destroyed this ecosystem. There is no other way to put it. The Arctic canary has been dead for some time.

Whit

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 03:21:03 PM »
It's changing quite rapidly, and the weather is weirding on my side of things. I'm heading for the north coast of the Kola peninsula in 2 weeks. There's been almost no rain for the last 2-3 months. The rivers are 50-60 cm below average. I was hoping for some cloudberries in addition to the odd trout, but I can't see that happening. Temperatures have been up to 34 C as far as I know.

I've fished and travelled the north coast of Kola for nearly a decade and norwegian Lapland for twice as long. The insect hatches are coming earlier and earlier, and spring is early. The most striking and easily visible change is the vegetation. The tundra on the norwegian side is "slowly" turning into forest.

Trout are displacing arctic charr in a couple of rivers i know of. The fish-scientists I talk to blame a combination of temperature and possibly pressure from sea-lice from the fish farms. The displacement is happening in rivers where none of the fish go to sea as well, so I'll put my money on temperature.

I'll give a brief report about the state of things on the ground up there when I get back.
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wili

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 08:28:06 AM »
"I'll give a brief report about the state of things on the ground up there when I get back."

Thanks for the insights. I look forward to any further observations you may have.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Anne

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 12:28:07 PM »
An interesting BBC article about an  expedition to record wildlife around the Laptev Sea and the possible impact of increased shipping and mining.

ETA: note the tabs at the top of the article, which link to other aspects of the Russian Arctic:
The Taimyr Peninsula
Polar Bears and
The Laptev walrus
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 03:07:31 PM by Anne »

wili

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 07:56:57 PM »
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/krill-face-greater-risks-in-a-warming-antarctic-16388

Krill Face Greater Risks in Warming Antarctic Waters

They may not look very appetizing, but they are what sustains much of the marine life in the southern ocean. Antarctic krill, usually less than 2.36 inches long, are the primary food source for many species of whale, seal, penguin and fish.

 But there’s a problem: the waters round Antarctica are warming, and it looks as if they will probably continue to do so. If they do, a team of UK researchers says, the area where the krill grow could shrink by a fifth.

It is the fact that krill are known to be sensitive to sea temperature, especially in the areas where they grow as adults, that prompted the scientists to try to understand how they might respond to the effects of further climate change.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

pikaia

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 12:54:25 AM »
Greenland will become greener, but only slowly unless humans help to spread the vegetation.
 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828092258.htm

Jim Hunt

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 10:10:12 PM »
Swimming with a polar bear:

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2017, 03:58:37 AM »
@ Espen

I know this is probably OT, but some time ago you made a passing reference on this thread to the predicament of polar bears on Svalbard. You may (or may not) have seen this article from December 2015, which states that the sub-population there was in pretty good shape...
http://www.npolar.no/en/news/2015/12-23-counting-of-polar-bears-in-svalbard.html

Unfortunately, winter 2016/17 hasn't been doing any favours for those members of the Ursus maritimus species stuck on Svalbard since early in last year's melt season. It will be "interesting" to see the next update on their status.
Not too old:  (and I think this is the 'right' thread on the forum...)
Tourism increase leads to polar bears being shot dead in the Arctic
   By David Sim   -   September 28, 2016

More and more polar bears are being shot dead on Norway's remote Arctic islands, as they come into increasing contact with people, due to an increased number of tourists and a reduction in the sea ice on which the creatures roam. Halfway between the northern tip of Europe and the North Pole, the Svalbard archipelago of snow-capped mountains and glaciers are home to 2,654 people and 975 polar bears, according to a 2015 tally by the Norwegian Polar Institute. ...
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

Cate

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 02:27:38 PM »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/davis-strait-polar-bears-ice-decline-1.4077164

Sea ice changes affecting polar bear populations in Davis Strait.

Polar bear scientist at the U of Alberta, who has been studying bears for 35 years, says the ice-free period off Labrador is increasing by 18 days per decade, because of  ice melting earlier and forming later in the fall. This affects bear access to seals, their preferred food.

As well, "One of the big findings was the reproductive rates were down. And that means that over the longer term the population is certainly not growing, and may be declining."


Bruce Steele

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 05:52:02 AM »
Beaufort beavers. Beaver dams a few miles from the Beaufort have shown up for the first time in the Northern reaches of Canada.

https://www.adn.com/arctic/2017/04/19/as-woody-shrubs-move-north-in-a-warming-climate-beavers-make-a-beachhead-on-the-arctic-coastal-plain/

Sigmetnow

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2017, 05:12:09 PM »
How Climate Change Canceled the Grizzly Salmon Run
On an Alaskan island, one of nature’s greatest spectacles is shutting down, as brown bears abandon fish in favor of a surprising alternative:  red elderberries
...
In most years, red elderberries only ripen from late August to early September, at the end of the salmon season. The two food sources don’t overlap, so the bears eat them in sequence, gorging on salmon before bingeing on berries. But, by looking at historical data, Deacy and Armstrong found that this natural timetable has changed. In Alaska, spring temperatures have increased and elderberries have been ripening earlier. In 2014, the berries ripened especially early, bringing them in sync with the spawning salmon. And it seems that whenever both items are on the menu simultaneously, the bears always choose berries.
...
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/how-climate-change-cancelled-the-grizzly-salmon-run/537483/
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Tigertown

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 09:43:22 PM »
Re: Polar Bear Decline.
A-Team,
Sure do, wish I didn't. One thing that confuses people is adult bear counts vs recruitment, ie females having enough food and denning opportunities to bear enough adult replacement cubs that survive to reproductive age at weight. Off-topic here, be good to pursue in depth on a separate forum.

Try looking at the primary peer-reviewed papers by field biologists (as well as field journals), forget the Koch's twitter page (Crawford), the nonsense around goose eggs, the ABC special situation, and environmental charities pitching false hope to donors. The habitat situation for both bears and walruses is hopeless, don't kid yourself.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/how-america-lost-its-mind/534231/
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/05/how-we-killed-expertise-215531

You can best find them at Pubmed among its 27,000,000 abstracts. Svalbard also tracks polar bears. The Siberian populations, the Russians may or may not be able to track them in remote locations.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/advanced

Back on topic, here is the what the bears and walrus are up against quantitatively in the Chukchi, Beaufort, and Barents: way too much open water for way too much of the year. We've shown open water over bathymetry (ie walrus food diving depth) many times up-forum. Snow depth is also up-forum (10 cm doesn't work out for dens, that's why they head for certain Svalbard islands).
The problem is there are many varying reports out there. Some of them claim that the numbers are back up over the last half-decade. Some claim that these are down in some regions but up in others, and say that this is because of the resilience of the Polar Bear. Of course if they are cross breeding, the offspring won't be Polar Bears. Thanks for points on this A-Team. If you want to add more to the subject later, this thread ought to be ok. I will dig for more details myself as I have time.

P.S.  From Cate's comment above,

 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/davis-strait-polar-bears-ice-decline-1.4077164

Sea ice changes affecting polar bear populations in Davis Strait.

Polar bear scientist at the U of Alberta, who has been studying bears for 35 years, says the ice-free period off Labrador is increasing by 18 days per decade, because of  ice melting earlier and forming later in the fall. This affects bear access to seals, their preferred food.

As well, "One of the big findings was the reproductive rates were down. And that means that over the longer term the population is certainly not growing, and may be declining."
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 09:50:21 PM by Tigertown »

Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 09:02:49 AM »
Great idea to have this topic wili.
And there definitely is a lot more to observe than just the emaciated polar bears indeed.
A lot comes to mind.
From "grolars" to reindeer, the Alaskan orca's failing to reproduce, to the life forms on the sea floor.
If i see any interesting studies i will try to post, thanks mate.

Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2017, 10:44:03 AM »

Daniel B.

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2017, 02:16:03 PM »
Polar bears straying far south in Siberia, with video;

http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/lost-but-happy-eating-fish-the-polar-bear-that-strayed-700-km-too-far-south/
Maybe he is just trying to avoid the brutally cold Siberian winter lol.

Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2017, 08:19:25 AM »
Polar bears straying far south in Siberia, with video;

http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/lost-but-happy-eating-fish-the-polar-bear-that-strayed-700-km-too-far-south/
Maybe he is just trying to avoid the brutally cold Siberian winter lol.

Maybe has some brown bear genes haha  ;) The bear cub is pretty strange though apart from the adult. The Russians think mom is looking for it...

Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2017, 08:23:01 AM »
A bit off topic i guess, interesting theory nonetheless.
Was Novaya Zemlya a safe haven during the ice age?

http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/to-bee-or-not-to-bee-unique-bumblebee-in-arctic-is-identified-as-new-species/

A-Team

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2017, 07:14:03 PM »
Nice forum topic. Posts on this topic are currently scattered all over the place. I hope to contribute regularly once the freezing season calms down.

A colleague sent me a pre-print on pre-extinction genomics of the Wrangel Island mammoth. That's quite relevant to polar bears and possibly walrus. There's been a lot of work on polar bear and brown bear genomics, both contemporary and fossil. The former's adaptations to life on ice are maladaptive to land.

Since seeing all those Wrangel PB's feasting recently on that dead bowhead whale, I've been wondering what they possibly could be eating the rest of the season: the nearest ice is a long ways off and has been and will be for months.

Best walrus links: haulout database

https://www.usgs.gov/news/more-160-years-walrus-haulout-observations-reported-russians-and-americans-published-database

Here's a walrus snippet from today's Guardian. It implies that FWS has just released an extensive ESA review document. Even though the document top and bottom will be politicized rubbish, there may be good material in the interior from agency wildlife biologists. I'm curious as to where they think walruses will go to feed when a thousand km from the nearest sea ice?

Over the long haul, a land-based walrus is a dead walrus:

when sea ice retreats from the entire ChukchiSea as in more recent years beginning in 2007, large numbers of adult females and young walruses formed coastal haulouts, and trampling injuries resulted in the disproportionate death of young walruses by the hundreds and thousands (Ovsyanikov 1994; Kochnev, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2012; Ovsyanikov 2008; Fischbach 2009; Semenova 2010). Such large losses of young walruses could affect overall population growth (Kochnev, 2004b; Udevitz 2013). https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2016/1108/ofr20161108.pdf

The loss of summer sea ice in the Chukchi Sea is putting increasing pressure on walruses, at times pushing them ashore where they have limited food options and are more vulnerable to predators.

Young walruses can also be trampled to death when large numbers of the animals have to congregate on land. Last month, an estimated 64 walruses, most of them less than a year old, were found dead near Point Lay in Alaska. An even larger “haul out” of walruses at Point Lay was documented in 2015.

Scientists have predicted the Arctic will be devoid of sea ice in summers by the 2030s. Data released last month showed that the minimum sea ice extent was 1.79m sq miles at the end of this year’s summer, around 610,000 sq miles below the long-term average and the eighth-lowest year in the 38-year satellite record.

In 2008, the loss of sea ice was deemed sufficient reason for the FWS to list the polar bear as a threatened species. A study published last year found that a third of the world’s polar bears, which currently number about 25,000, could be lost within the next 40 years.

The FWS tentatively estimates there are around 283,000 Pacific walruses left, although it warns this number should be used with “extreme caution” due to uncertainty over the exact population of the species. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/04/walrus-endangered-species-trump-administration

The walruses started appearing on a barrier island near the village of Point Lay during the first week of August. "This is the earliest date yet for the haulout to form," the Alaska Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a release. [Point Lay is located at 69.7°N, 163.0°W]

Previously, the earliest haulout date on record was Aug. 17, back in 2011, said Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros. The gathering of the enormous animals near Alaska's Chukchi Sea coastline is the result of retreating sea ice in recent years.

Walruses typically use floating ice as platforms to rest between dives to forage for food, but summer and fall melt has forced them ashore. The animals haul out about two weeks after the continental sea ice recedes.

"This year, sea ice has retreated beyond the continental shelf earlier than in previous years," Medeiros said.

A herd of 6,000 Pacific walruses hauled out on the same barrier island last year, but at a much later-than-average date of Oct. 7. But after a weekend there, the herd appeared to have moved on, with officials reporting that the animals were likely headed south to coastal haulouts in Chukotka, Russia.

The big Point Lay gatherings have happened almost every fall since 2007, a year notable for sea ice retreat. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/wildlife/2017/08/17/walrus-haulout-in-northwest-alaska-forms-at-earliest-date-ever-recorded/
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 04:59:54 PM by A-Team »

Sigmetnow

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2017, 04:06:30 PM »
Antarctic, but, hey.  Press release posted on 13 October 2017.

Breeding failure of a colony of nearly 20,000 Adélie penguins highlights need for urgent protections of Antarctic waters
Thousands of Adélie penguin chicks starved to death at the start of 2017 due to unusually extensive sea ice
A colony of over 18,000 pairs of Adélie penguins in Terre Adélie, Antarctica, suffered a catastrophic breeding failure at the start of 2017 with only two chicks surviving. WWF is demanding greater protections of the waters off East Antarctica next week at a crucial international meeting in Hobart, Australia where proposals for a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) will be considered.

Surviving mostly on a diet of krill, a small shrimp like crustacean, Adélie penguins are generally faring well in East Antarctica, but declining in the Antarctic peninsula region where climate change is well established. However, this significant breeding failure at this particular colony in East Antarctica has been linked to unusually extensive sea ice late in the summer, meaning the adult penguins had to travel further to forage for food for their chicks. As a result the chicks starved. ...
http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/press_releases/?uNewsID=313791
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Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2017, 09:07:05 AM »
A follow up on the polar bear cub found 700 km south in Siberia.
Seems it is not the only one doing so and seeking out humans.

http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/new-polar-bear-star-of-moscow-zoo-is-symbol-of-a-dire-problem-for-species-caused-by-climate-change/

Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2017, 08:04:53 PM »
A changing future for gray whales:

http://climateinterpreter.org/features/archive/201512

Gray whales, like anything under global warming migrate further north.
Gray whales, though limited to the Northern Pacific may be using the Northwest Passage to recolonize the Atlantic and have turned up in Barcelona, Israel and Namibia.

On the other hand 1 of the 2 Pacific populations that exist, the western population is thought to be lost and smaller migrations to and from the one remaining eastern population are observed.

So predominantly whales are moving east in the Pacific, rare Russian whales being seen in US.
Whales are moving north in general and spending more time there.
But in the Arctic they are more often seen to the west as well.
Turning up in Siberia as far as the Laptev Sea, and other whales apparently even going right through the Arctic east, all the way down to the Atlantic and Southern Africa.

Forest Dweller

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2017, 06:50:44 PM »
I wonder if anyone here has some recent/decent info on the Arctic wolves in Greenland especially?
Or even prey species involved(lemming, musk ox, hare, fox...)

The Greenland wolf research program website doesn't offer much and seems to be desperately looking for volunteers who are super-fit and able to spend "US$8,000-10,000 for one month in the field."
I'm sure they have little help or possibilities in this understandably very difficult task.
Perhaps they should start by putting an email link on their site...no contact info does not help.
https://greenland-wolf-research-program.000webhostapp.com/

Arctic wolves a.k.a. the "friendly wolves" and their prey species are likely subject to changes in climate as anything else is.
The hopelessly skittish or outdated info available indicates for Greenland some 50-60 wolves, which is of course considered way below a healthy breeding population.

Maybe for the wolves in Greenland or Canada there are trends resulting in prey abundance by CC but also genetic diversity.
Dave Mech studied the wolves on Ellesmere extensively of course and their demise is well known.
I hear it is the longest lasting wolf study ever.
The Greenland population only ever suffered hunting it seems from Scandinavia mostly, although foxes were a better source of income.

Farley Mowat is well known for Ellesmere as well and a movie about it, but disputed it seems.
Gordon Buchanan did an excellent documentary for BBC in Canada more recently named "Snow wolf family and me", which i highly recommend.
For Greenland who knows...thought i'd give it a long shot.

Images below also not reliable therefore, the range has to be changing.
And a pic by Mech that must be from Ellesmere.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2017, 08:29:58 PM »
“During my research lifetime, Cooper Island will no longer be able to support this species,” Divoky says. “It went from too cold to too warm. It should have taken centuries, not decades.”

Black Guillemots

Can These Seabirds Adapt Fast Enough to Survive a Melting Arctic?
On a remote Alaskan sandbar, under the watchful eye of a devoted scientist for more than four decades, climate change is forcing a colony of seabirds into a real-time race: evolve or go extinct.
For the first 28 years of Divoky’s study, chicks ate cod almost exclusively. But in 2003 parents began serving fourhorn sculpin, an ugly fish with a lumpy head and spiny fins. Divoky would find chicks choked dead with enormous sculpin lodged in their throats. Parents eventually learned to catch smaller sculpin, but chicks still suffered. “It takes a long time to break down all that cartilaginous mass” in sculpin fins, Divoky says. Just one fish is enough to fill a chick’s stomach. “It’s like, ‘I can’t get anything else down, I’ve still got the last sculpin head in my stomach.’"
http://www.audubon.org/magazine/winter-2017/can-these-seabirds-adapt-fast-enough-survive
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