www.audubon.org

ICYMI: Can these seabirds adapt fast enough to survive a melting Arctic?

On a remote Alaskan sandbar, under the watchful eye of a devoted scientist for more than four decades, climate change is forcing a colony of seabirds into a real-time race: evolve or go extinct.


I knew George Divoky when he began this study in the 1970s. I was there with him at Barrow. Few, if any, of us there at the time the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory had any idea of the importance this long term ecological study would take on, perhaps not even George. He certainly didn't mention it.

At the time there were soil scientists on the tundra nearby, particularly Dwight Billings from Duke University, studying how local heating might effect carbon emissions from a warming tundra. But the dramatic changes George would document were still over the horizon, even in our imaginations. Now they are upon us, upon Cooper Island, upon coastal Alaska, and the future looks bleak for birds of this habitat.

Thank you, George, for your persistence. What a testament to the value of long-term ecological studies!

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
From our Newsroom

Two things to be thankful for...

2020 is almost gone. And we are lucky to have prescient environmental reporters.

Major oil and gas companies join program to cut methane emissions

62 oil and gas companies from around the world signed on to a UN-led partnership aimed at bolstering monitoring and reductions of the potent climate-warming gas.

Q&A: A young environmental justice leader on the value of getting youth of color into nature

"Before decisions are made we need to practice what we preach when we say that we stand for justice and equity. In any decision-making process, youth need to be involved from the get-go."

Agents of Change: New fellows seek to reimagine science communication

Breaking through the echo chamber with new voices grounded in science, community, and equity.

10 tips for cleaner grocery shopping

Picking ingredients for a better lifestyle.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.