Giant Petrels will be "temporary" winners from the effects of climate change in the Antarctic region, but males and females will benefit in very different ways, a new study shows.
The study, by experts from the University of Exeter and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), is one the first to analyse how different sexes of the same species could be affected by changing conditions through global warming.
The research shows that Giant Petrels, known colloquially as "stinkers", will benefit from an increased number of warm weather anomalies in the region, while changes to wind patterns across the Antarctic and the southwest Atlantic will also improve their ability to forage at sea.
However, the research reveals that the benefits are different for the male of the species, compared to females.
It shows that the males, as the larger and heavier sex, would benefit more by dominating access to carrion on land and by traveling much less far from the colony when foraging at sea.
Females, on the other hand, are likely to benefit from stronger winds which will help them fly and forage at sea with less effort, and from retreating sea ice increasing the extension of open waters suitable for foraging.
Crucially, however the study also suggests that any increase in longline fishing (and resulting mortality on fishing gear, termed bycatch) could harm their survival.
Few studies have examined how different sexes of a species could be affected by changing conditions, and the researchers say this means the impacts could be underestimated if sex-specific effects are not included.