Have you ever heard of an albatross divorce? A new study published in the journal Royal Society found that black-browed albatrosses may become estranged from their life partners due to global warming. According to the study, albatrosses are among the few species that mate for life, but climate change is affecting their mating.
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The research analyzed the mating patterns of more than 15,000 pairs of albatrosses in the Falkland Islands over 15 years. He found that during years when the average annual temperature was above normal, the rate of albatross “divorce” increased. This means that researchers have recorded up to 8% of albatross pairs separating to find new mates.
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Typically, albatrosses mate for life and only divorce when they are unable to reproduce. Under usual circumstances, the albatross divorce rate ranges from 1 to 3%. In contrast, during warmer years, the divorce rate appears to increase. Researchers attribute the high divorce rate to various factors.
Warm temperatures mean less phytoplankton in the waters, scientists say. These organisms are vital for the marine ecosystem. When there is not enough food, albatrosses are likely to fly further and leave their companions behind in search of food.
According to American scientist, phytoplankton help maintain the marine food chain and ecosystem. Scientists say these ecosystem imbalances cause birds to fly farther than usual. As a result, if a partner is late in returning to their partner, the partner may choose another partner for reproduction.
Francesco Ventura, a researcher at the University of Lisbon and co-author of the study, explained that there appears to be a serious lack of understanding between the albatross partners due to these trips. “We propose this hypothesis blaming the partner with whom a stressed female might experience this physiological stress, and attribute these higher stress levels to poor performance of the male,” Ventura said.
Recently a smaller to study discovered that Amazonian birds are getting smaller and smaller thanks to global warming. These findings continue to sound the alarm bells for the world to tackle climate change.
Going through The HuffPost
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