September 10, 2009
Arctic-nesting geese opt out of migration
The U.S. Geological Survey says global warming has resulted in some arctic-nesting geese electing to spend the winter in Alaska instead of Mexico.
USGS scientists said they've discovered the winter distribution of Pacific brant -- a small, dark sea goose -- shifted northward from Mexico to sub-Arctic areas as Alaska's climate warmed in the last four decades.
This increase in wintering numbers of brant in Alaska coincides with a general warming of temperatures in the North Pacific and Bering Sea, said David Ward, the study's lead author and a USGS researcher at the Alaska Science Center.
This suggests that environmental conditions have changed for one of the northernmost-wintering populations of geese.
The research that included Christian Dau, Lee Tibbitts, James Sedinger, Betty Anderson and James Hines is detailed in the journal Arctic.