WASHINGTON : Climate Change killing off Bering Sea puffins, say scientists.

When an unusually large number of puffin carcasses began to wash ashore on Alaska's remote St Paul Island in the fall of 2016, the local tribal populace grew alarmed.

As first they suspected the seabirds might have avian flu - but the labs on the mainland ruled out any disease, finding that that the seabirds known for their brightly-colored beaks and thick tufts had instead starved to death.

In a new study published Wednesday, researchers concluded the deaths, which occurred between October 2016 and February 2017, ran into thousands - and were part of a growing number of mass die-offs recorded as climate change wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems.

The paper, which appeared in the journal PLOS ONE, found that although local recovered only 350 carcasses, between 3,150 and 8.500 birds may have succumbed to starvation.

The majority were tufted puffins and the remainder were crested auklets.

The research team, which included scientists from the University of Washington and the Aleut  Community of St Paul Ecosystem Conservation Office, said-

That from 2014 increased atmospheric temperatures and decreased sea winter ice led to the declines in energy-rich prey species in the Bering Sea. [Agencies]


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