Scientists' tracking of seabirds yields clues to health of oceans
Friday, July 03 2009 @ 01:08 PM EDT
Contributed by: richardpitt
Scientists in Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador are keeping a close watch on a species of seabirds known as thick-billed murres, which they say could provide clues about the health of the ocean waters around Canada.
An estimated four million thick-billed murres nest in Nunavut, but they have also been seen and harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Greenland.
Scientists say they provide a good indication on the health of oceans, particularly how they're affected by a changing climate, sea ice conditions, development and the presence of contaminants such as mercury.
A research team, which includes members from Canadian universities and the Canadian Wildlife Service, attached geo-locating microchips to some thick-billed murres last year to record light and temperature conditions and to track the birds' movements.