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Carbon flux to seabirds in waters with different mixing regimes in the southeastern Bering Sea

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Abstract

The southeastern Bering Sea is characterized by three mixing regimes, separated by fronts associated with the 50, 100, and 200 m isobaths. Phytoplankton to zooplankton transfer-rates are high in waters over the outer shelf and slope (seaward of the 100 m front) relative to transfer in waters over the middle shelf (between the 50 and 100 m fronts). To see whether this difference is reflected at a higher trophic level, we computed carbon flux to the 11 commonest seabird species. Bird-density data (for the period 1975 through 1979) were combined with daily caloric requirement, which is an allometric function of body size in this endothermic group. Minimum transfer to seabirds over a 153 d period (April–August) was 30 mg C m-2 for the middle shelf and 48 mg C m-2 for outer shelf and slope waters. Trophic transfer to subsurface-feeding birds (shearwaters, murres and auklets) differed little between regions. In contrast, trophic transfer to surface-feeding birds (fulmars, petrels, and kittiwakes) in the outer shelf and slope waters was 3 times greater than in the waters of the middle shelf. Thus, for seabirds as a whole, pathways of energy transfer differed more between regions than did total carbon flux.

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Communicated by N. D. Holland, La Jolla

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Schneider, D., Hunt, G.L. Carbon flux to seabirds in waters with different mixing regimes in the southeastern Bering Sea. Marine Biology 67, 337–344 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00397674

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Keywords

  • Phytoplankton
  • Body Size
  • Energy Transfer
  • Trophic Level
  • Total Carbon