Citation: Sandvik, H. (2006) Towards a nomothetic study of the effects of climatic change: causes and correlations revealed by seabird population dynamics [abstract of an oral presentation given at the XXIVth International Ornithological Congress in Hamburg]. Journal of Ornithology, 147 (Supplement 1), 123.

doi: 10.1007/s10336-006-0093-1 [what’s a doi?].

Conference logoAbstract: Climatic change is predicted to affect many species in both direct and indirect ways. However, our ability to forecast the biological consequences of global change is still severely impaired. A better understanding of how species and ecosystems respond to naturally occurring climatic oscillations, will therefore be of great importance. Climatic conditions vary at several temporal and spatial scales. Documentation is accumulating from both terrestrial and aquatic animals that this climatic variability exerts effects on a variety of morphological, demographic and other parameters. However, thus far many studies merely report whether or not or how strongly a set of biological parameters co-varies with climatic parameters. The underlying causes are often far more poorly understood. This is so partly because most studies centre on the population level. In addition to descriptive studies of this kind, one should therefore aim at understanding why species differ in their responses, both in sign and magnitude. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to carry out interspecific comparative studies.
   I report findings from phylogenetic-comparative analyses of seabirds. The objective was to explain between-species differences in responsiveness to climatic variability. Seabirds were chosen as a study subject because this group offers some unique opportunities for the analysis of causal links: they share a marine environment, while at the same time exhibiting an amazing variation in trophic relations, behavioural traits, life-history tactics and geographic distributions. A database was compiled using published demographic long-term data from all taxa of seabirds. The analysis of this database yields insights in how the ecology and life history of species affects the response, and vulnerability, to climatic oscillations at different time scales.

Related publications: Elaborations of this talk appeared in Ecography, Global Change Biology and Marine Ecology Progress Series.


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