Seabird populations of the Southern Ocean have been responding to climate change for the last three decades and demographic models suggest that projected warming will cause dramatic population changes over the next century. Shift in species distribution is likely to be one of the major possible adaptations to changing environmental conditions. Habitat models based on a unique long-term tracking dataset of king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) breeding on the Crozet Islands (southern Indian Ocean) revealed that despite a significant influence of primary productivity and mesoscale activity, sea surface temperature consistently drove penguins' foraging distribution. According to climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the projected warming of surface waters would lead to a gradual southward shift of the more profitable foraging zones, ranging from 25 km per decade for the B1 IPCC scenario to 40 km per decade for the A1B and A2 scenarios. As a consequence, distances travelled by incubating and brooding birds to reach optimal foraging zones associated with the polar front would double by 2100. Such a shift is far beyond the usual foraging range of king penguins breeding and would negatively affect the Crozet population on the long term, unless penguins develop alternative foraging strategies.
- RECENT CLIMATE-CHANGE
- EVOLUTIONARY RESPONSES
- POLAR FRONT
[Peron, Clara; Weimerskirch, Henri; Bost, Charles-Andre] CNRS, UPR 1934, Ctr Etud Biol Chize, F-79360 Villiers En Bois, France; [Bost, Charles-Andre] ULP, CNRS, UMR 7178, Inst Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien,DEPE, F-67087 Strasbourg 2, France
Peron, C (reprint author), CNRS, UMR 5175, Ctr Ecol Fonct & Evolut, 1919 Route Mende, F-34293 Montpellier 5, France.
- Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), UMR5175
- Centre d'études biologiques de Chizé (CEBC), UPR1934
- Institut pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien (IPHC), UMR7178