13 January 2012:
Changes in Wind Pattern Alter Albatross Distribution and Life-History Traits
Westerly winds in the Southern Ocean have increased in intensity and moved poleward. Using long-term demographic and foraging records, we show that foraging range in wandering albatrosses has shifted poleward in conjunction with these changes in wind pattern, while their rates of travel and flight speeds have increased.
Consequently, the duration of foraging trips has decreased, breeding success has improved, and birds have increased in mass by more than 1 kilogram. These positive consequences of climate change may be temporary if patterns of wind in the southern westerlies follow predicted climate change scenarios. This study stresses the importance of foraging performance as the key link between environmental changes and population processes.
May 2012. A new study of the wandering albatross – one of the world’s largest birds- has shown that some of the birds are breeding earlier in the season compared with 30 years ago: here.
Despite forming lifelong pair-bonds, wandering albatrosses are far from paragons of steadfast monogamy. They may stick with their partners year after year, but their relationships are distinctly open. A long-term study of one population offers a possible explanation for the birds’ cheating hearts: here.
Climate Change Skepticism Seeps Into Science Classrooms. Neela Banerjee, McClatchy Newspapers: “Although scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly, the issue has grown so politicized that skepticism of the broad scientific consensus has seeped into classrooms. Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom”: here.