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It gives us an idea of the overall impact we're having." There are nearly 350 species of seabirds worldwide.
Living on both the open ocean and the shoreline, they face overfishing, drowning in fishing lines or nets, plastic pollution, invasive species like rats in nesting areas, oil and gas development and toxic pollution moving up the food chain.
And then there is climate change and ocean acidification which threaten to flood nesting sites and disrupt food sources.
Seabirds are about twice as likely as land-based birds to be threatened with extinction.
Prof Callum Roberts, at the University of York in the UK and not part of Pauly's team, said: "We can see more clearly now, for example, the immense value of fish to poor people in developing countries," he said.
Paleczny and Hammil's research found that the tern family has fallen by 85%, frigatebirds by 81%, petrels and shearwaters by 79%, and albatrosses by 69%.
Lascelles said: "Increased efforts should be made to rid seabird colonies of invasive species, reduce bycatch in fisheries or the ensnaring of birds in fish nets, and setting up conservation areas." Paleczny also called for the creation of international marine protected areas to cover the wide ranges of seabirds.
But now seabirds seabird abundance has dropped 69.7% in only 60 years, according to a recent paper in PLOS ONE.
Edd Hammill with Utah State University and co-author of the paper, noted: "What we should take away from this is that something is serious amiss in the oceans." Ben Lascelles, with Birdlife International, found the research alarming because the decline appeared practically indiscriminate, hitting a "large number of species across a number of families." Michelle Paleczny with the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us Project said: "When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems.