Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/15673
Iceland is an important habitat for seabirds in the northern Atlantic, and because the effects of global climate change are manifesting to a greater extent at higher latitudes, it is necessary to understand how climate is affecting seabirds around Iceland. The effects of climate change can be exhibited through direct or indirect ecosystem effects, and the relative importance of each type of control is an essential aspect of understanding ecosystem functioning for management purposes. This paper synthesizes literature that deals with the effects of oceanographic and ecosystem features, such as sea surface temperature (SST) and lower trophic level characteristics that have the potential to influence high trophic level seabirds. The concept of bottom-up control has been suggested to explain ecosystem dynamics in several cases in the northern Atlantic. Therefore, effects of climate on lower trophic levels and trophic coupling to higher trophic levels should be well documented in systems where bottom-up control is plausible. Additionally, this paper addresses to what extent SST can explain Icelandic great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo carbo) and common eider (Somateria mollissima) population fluctuations in Breiðafjörður, Iceland. Neither analysis found significant models to explain population variation in either species, however, in both cases there were results that suggested SST may be positively related to success. This paper suggests that other potential mechanisms, such as extreme weather events and indirect effects through trophic interactions, should also be addressed in the context of the cormorant and eider populations of Iceland.
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