Climate change impact on Balearic shearwater through a trophic cascade

A recent study showed that a critically endangered migratory predator species, the Balearic shear- water Puffinus mauretanicus, rapidly expanded northwards in northeast Atlantic waters after the mid-1990s. As a significant positive correlation was found between the long-term changes in the abundance of this seabird and sea temperature around the British Isles, it was hypothesized that the link between the biogeographic shift and temperature occurred through the food web. Here, we test this conjecture and reveal con- comitant changes in a regional index of sea temperature, plankton (total calanoid copepod), fish prey (anchovy and sardine) and the Balearic shearwater for the period 1980–2003. All three trophic levels exhibit a significant shift detected between 1994 and 1996. Our findings therefore support the assertion of both a direct and an indirect effect of climate change on the spatial dis- tribution of post-breeding Balearic shearwater through a trophic cascade. 

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