Climate change will reshape ecosystems worldwide through two types of climate events: short-term, extreme events — like a heat wave — and long-term changes, like a shift in ocean currents.
Climate change will reshape ecosystems worldwide through two types of climate events: short-term, extreme events — like a heat wave — and long-term changes, like a shift in ocean currents. Ecologists call the short-term events “pulses,” and the long-term changes “presses.”
Presses and pulses will likely have different effects on animal species. But how? And how will animals respond? Answering these questions is no easy feat because individual events can have dramatically divergent impacts on an animal species. Yet understanding the effects of presses and pulses is essential as conservationists and policymakers try to preserve ecosystems and safeguard biodiversity.
Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered how different presses and pulses impacted Magellanic penguins — a migratory marine predator — over nearly four decades at their historically largest breeding site in Punta Tombo, Argentina. In a paper published the week of Jan. 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team from the UW’s Center for Ecosystem Sentinels reports that, though individual presses and pulses impacted penguins in a variety of ways, both were equally important for the future survival of the penguin population. They also found that these types of climate changes, taken together, are leading to an overall population decline at this particular site.
Read more at: University of Washington
A summer scene at the Magellanic penguin colony at Punta Tombo in Argentina. (Photo Credit: Dee Boersma/UW Center for Ecosystem Sentinels