Date: August 18, 2015
Source: University of Edinburgh
Summary: Stronger winds forecast as a result of climate change could impact on populations of wild animals, by affecting how well they can feed, a study of seabirds suggests.
Research into a common UK coastal seabird showed that when winds are strong, females take much longer to find food compared with their male counterparts.
Researchers expect that if wind conditions worsen -- as they are forecast to do -- this could impact on the wellbeing of female birds, and ultimately affect population sizes.
In many seabird species, females are smaller and lighter than males, and so must work harder to dive through turbulent water. They may not hold their breath for as long, fly so efficiently nor dive as deeply as males. The latest results suggest that in poor weather conditions, this sex difference is exaggerated.