A new study has shown that the rising sea temperature has caused a significant decrease in the Icelandic puffin population over the past few decades.
The study was published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology. The study has been tracking the population of puffins living in the Westman Islands since 1880.
The puffin count has been decreasing across Iceland however the country still has the largest puffin population in the world.
The results of the study show that the puffin population has slightly adapted to rising sea temperatures, but not fully.
The puffin now acquires most chicks about half a degree higher than the temperature of the sea before the 20th century. However, the puffins are not adapting fast enough.
The temperature rises about three times faster than the puffin seems to be able to handle. The puffin population thrives best in 7.1°C warm sea, but the number of juveniles decreases whether the sea temperature rises or falls.
The results show the unequivocal effects of climate change, in particular rising sea temperatures, on wildlife in the Arctic.
It’s time to stop
It has been a tradition for puffins to be hunted in Iceland from 1 September to 25 April. In 2020, 28,872 puffins were caught throughout the country, but only 22% of hunters actually submit catch figures, so it’s likely the number is higher.
The puffin is in acute danger of extinction according to the Institute of Natural History’s blacklist and at risk according to the world list, but both lists are from 2018.
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Also you can get regular news from Iceland—including the latest notifications on eruptions, as soon as they happen—by signing up to our newsletter.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!