"WASHINGTON — Dead and dying seabirds collected on the coasts of the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas over the past six years reveal how the Arctic’s fast-changing climate is threatening the ecosystems and people who live there, according to a report released Tuesday by U.S. scientists.
Local communities have reported numerous emaciated bodies of seabirds — including shearwaters, auklets and murres — that usually eat plankton, krill or fish, but appear to have had difficulty finding sufficient food. The hundreds of distressed and dead birds are only a fraction of ones that starved, scientists say.
“Since 2017, we’ve had multi-species seabird die-offs in the Bering Strait region,” said Gay Sheffield, a biologist at University of Alaska Fairbanks, based in Nome, Alaska and a co-author of the report. “The one commonality is emaciation, or starvation.”
The seabirds are struggling because of climate-linked ecosystem shifts — which can affect the supply and the timing of available food — as well as a harmful algal bloom and a viral outbreak in the region, she said."
Christina Larson reports for the Associated Press December 12, 2022.