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Warming temperatures put tufted puffin at risk

e chicks are left to starve."

If these warm temperatures were to continue or to increase in frequency, it is likely that puffins would experience more and more frequent reproductive failures. A prolonged lack of recruitment of new birds to this population would eventually mean that puffins would no longer occur on this island, which is the only place in Canada where they currently occur in significant numbers (estimated to be more than 50,000 pairs).

Because of a natural variation in ocean climates, the last few four years have been relatively cool, but so far this year, temperatures appear to be closer to the warm period during the mid 90s.

St. Clair said that it is certain that human activities are contributing to the global warming. "The first thing we can do as a society is be aware of how important seemingly small differences in the environment may be to other organisms," she said. "I think most of us have some awareness of how our daily activities can contribute to greenhouse gases, and hence climate change. So we might think about tufted puffins on remote windswept islands the next time we stand before the thermostat or gas pump."


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Contact: Phoebe Dey
phoebe.dey@ualberta.ca
780-492-0437
University of Alberta
14-Jul-2003


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