Sentinel of Climate Change: How does Ocean- Climate change Affect Seabirds?


Large changes are occurring in the Earth’s climate and in the ocean’s physical characteristics  and climate  models project that these changes  will continue into the next century. There is a pressing need to better understand and predict the ecological responses of present and future climate changes. Guiding conservation and management programs requires understanding of past and current population responses to climate change in order to obtain suitable forecasting models to predict future population responses.

Seabirds are long-lived upper trophic-level predators in marine ecosystems and are key indicator species of climate and ocean change.  Indeed, their presence, absence or abundance reflects the impact of environmental variability over large spatial and temporal scales in the global ocean.

My goal is to link climate models to demographic models to understand and predict the population responses to current and future climate change for a community of seabirds, “sentinel of climate change”. As such, my research is highly inter-disciplinary, centered in population dynamics and seabird ecology, but with strong linkages to conservation biology, physical oceanography and climate modeling.

I have been conducting research and publishing in this field for over a decade and have developed a three-steps MUP approach (Measuring – Understanding – Predicting) during that time (see Jenouvrier 2013).

  1. (1)Measuring the impacts of climate change on the life history traits and populations of marine species. I am participating in long-term field programs on several seabird breeding colonies in the Southern Ocean. 

(2) Understanding the population dynamics of seabirds and population responses to climate change. I develop demographic models using the latest developments in the field of mathematical ecology.

(3) Predicting the population responses to future climate change using climate forecast models developed in the assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I develop novel approaches to link climate and demographic models by working directly with physical oceanographers and climatologists.

In a nutshell:

To know more on how penguins respond to climate change, click here!

To know more if other seabirds will respond differently, click here!

To know more on my ongoing projects:

  1. -Impact of climate changes on Southern Fulmar funded by WHOI - Ocean Life Institute 2011