Seabird response to abrupt climate change 5,000 years ago transformed Falklands ecosystems

ScienceDaily | Oct 23, 2020 at 8:20 PM
  • A 14,000-year paleoecological reconstruction of the sub-Antarctic islands led by University of Maine researchers has found that seabird establishment occurred during a period of regional cooling 5,000 years ago.
  • The connection of nutrients originating in the marine ecosystem that are transferred to the terrestrial ecosystem enrich the islands’ nutrient-poor soil, thereby making the Falkland Islands sensitive to changes in climate and land use.
  • It’s clear that the addition of seabird populations bringing nutrients from the marine environment to the island drove changes in the terrestrial plant community structure, composition and function, according to the researchers, as well as increased fire activity and nutrient cycling.