Climate Cast Series

Climate Change, Upwelling, and California’s Coastal Seabirds

Upwelling, the process by which nutrient rich deep-ocean waters cycle to the surface, is vital to California’s marine ecosystem. Upwelling stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which form the basis of the marine food web. Climate change threatens the timing and intensity of future upwelling, which may prove detrimental to many marine animals and coastal seabirds. If upwelling occurs after breeding season or with a weaker intensity, many species may not be able to survive.

To understand how climate change will affect upwelling, we spoke with Frank Schwing, oceanographer with NOAA’s National Marine Fishery Service, Sara Acosta, biologist with PRBO Conservation Science, and Lara Rachowicz, who studied seabirds at Alcatraz Island for Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Although scientists cannot be certain how upwelling will change due to climate, most of the predicted scenarios show upwelling negatively impacting seabird lifecycles and survival. Listen to this podcast to learn how your actions can help protect our coastal seabirds.

 

Climate Change, Upwelling, and California’s Coastal Seabirds Podcast: (direct download, 2.67 Mb)

Transcript: Climate Change, Upwelling, and California's Coastal Seabirds (pdf)