When an unusually large number of puffin carcasses began to wash ashore on Alaska's remote St. Paul Island in the fall of 2016, the local tribal population grew alarmed.
A new study concluded the deaths are part of massive climate change-linked die-offs https://t.co/PDNPViAiaz
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 29, 2019
The mass die-off of the widely beloved birds off coastal Alaska — one of a growing number of “mass mortality events” affecting seabirds recently — was anything but normal.
Parrish and a group of colleagues used weather data to estimate that between 3,150 and 8,500 birds probably died, most likely from starvation. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, the authors theorize the die-off is at least partially attributable to the changing climate.
“This mortality event represents one of multiple seabird mortality events that have occurred in the Northeast Pacific from 2014 to 2018, cumulatively suggestive of broad-scale ecosystem change,” they write. Such episodes, they add, “are indicators of a changing world, and particularly of climate warming.”