Extreme mortality and reproductive failure of common murres resulting from the northeast Pacific marine heatwave of 2014-2016

Autoři: John F. Piatt aff001;  Julia K. Parrish aff002;  Heather M. Renner aff003;  Sarah K. Schoen aff001;  Timothy T. Jones aff002;  Mayumi L. Arimitsu aff004;  Kathy J. Kuletz aff005;  Barbara Bodenstein aff006;  Marisol García-Reyes aff007;  Rebecca S. Duerr aff008;  Robin M. Corcoran aff009;  Robb S. A. Kaler aff004;  Gerard J. McChesney aff010;  Richard T. Golightly aff011;  Heather A. Coletti aff012;  Robert M. Suryan aff013;  Hillary K. Burgess aff002;  Jackie Lindsey aff002;  Kirsten Lindquist aff015;  Peter M. Warzybok aff016;  Jaime Jahncke aff016;  Jan Roletto aff015;  William J. Sydeman aff007
Působiště autorů: U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America aff001;  University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, COASST, Seattle, Washington, United States of America aff002;  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Homer, Alaska, United States of America aff003;  U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Juneau, Alaska, United States of America aff004;  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird Management, Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America aff005;  U.S. Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America aff006;  Farallon Institute, Petaluma, California, United States of America aff007;  International Bird Rescue, San Francisco Bay Center, Fairfield, California, United States of America aff008;  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kodiak, Alaska, United States of America aff009;  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Fremont, California, United States of America aff010;  Department of Wildlife, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, United States of America aff011;  National Park Service, Fairbanks, Alaska, United States of America aff012;  NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Auk Bay Laboratories, Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute, Juneau, Alaska, United States of America aff013;  Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, BeachCOMBERS, Moss Landing, California, United States of America aff014;  NOAA Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Beach Watch, San Francisco, California, United States of America aff015;  Point Blue Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA, United States of America aff016
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226087


About 62,000 dead or dying common murres (Uria aalge), the trophically dominant fish-eating seabird of the North Pacific, washed ashore between summer 2015 and spring 2016 on beaches from California to Alaska. Most birds were severely emaciated and, so far, no evidence for anything other than starvation was found to explain this mass mortality. Three-quarters of murres were found in the Gulf of Alaska and the remainder along the West Coast. Studies show that only a fraction of birds that die at sea typically wash ashore, and we estimate that total mortality approached 1 million birds. About two-thirds of murres killed were adults, a substantial blow to breeding populations. Additionally, 22 complete reproductive failures were observed at multiple colonies region-wide during (2015) and after (2016–2017) the mass mortality event. Die-offs and breeding failures occur sporadically in murres, but the magnitude, duration and spatial extent of this die-off, associated with multi-colony and multi-year reproductive failures, is unprecedented and astonishing. These events co-occurred with the most powerful marine heatwave on record that persisted through 2014–2016 and created an enormous volume of ocean water (the “Blob”) from California to Alaska with temperatures that exceeded average by 2–3 standard deviations. Other studies indicate that this prolonged heatwave reduced phytoplankton biomass and restructured zooplankton communities in favor of lower-calorie species, while it simultaneously increased metabolically driven food demands of ectothermic forage fish. In response, forage fish quality and quantity diminished. Similarly, large ectothermic groundfish were thought to have increased their demand for forage fish, resulting in greater top-predator demands for diminished forage fish resources. We hypothesize that these bottom-up and top-down forces created an “ectothermic vise” on forage species leading to their system-wide scarcity and resulting in mass mortality of murres and many other fish, bird and mammal species in the region during 2014–2017.

Klíčová slova:

Alaska – Beaches – Birds – Death rates – Marine fish – Predation – Seabirds – Gulf of Alaska


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