29 Feb 2012:
Study Finds Level of
Overfishing That Threatens Seabirds
A new study says that seabirds experience a precipitous drop in birth rates when fish supplies dip beneath one-third of maximum levels
, a finding that could provide critical insight into how overfishing imperils numerous bird species. In an analysis of research conducted on 14 bird species — from seagulls to penguins — in seven different ecosystems worldwide, an international team of scientists found that over long periods of time the ecosystems consistently followed the same basic law: When the amount of prey fish falls beneath that critical tipping point, the birds produce fewer offspring. The researchers selected only seabirds that feed on sardines, anchovies, herrings and other small fish targeted by fishermen and currently under threat. Those small fish, which are increasingly used to make meal and oil for fish farming, comprise about 30 percent of the global catch. The study, coordinated by Philippe Cury of the University of British Columbia, was published in the journal Science
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.