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Dear Kitty
Monday, April 18, 2005
  Elephant seal pups suffer from ocean warming
Ocean warming has a negative impact on the condition of elephant seals, reveals a study published in the Open Access journal BMC Biology. High ocean temperatures observed from 1975 to the late 1990s are correlated with a 28% decrease in the weight of elephant seal pups. Elephant seals are shown to be sensitive to ocean temperature changes associated with both long-term 25-year cycles and short-term 3-4 year cycles such as those caused by El NiƱo.

Sea lions and fur seals that feed near their rookeries at the surface of the ocean are known to be very sensitive to water temperature changes, as an increase in water temperature usually causes their prey to migrate to cooler areas, depleting local food resources and resulting in pup starvation. Elephant seals, which feed in deep waters, were previously thought to be better buffered against ocean temperature changes than other sea mammals.

A study by Dr Burney Le Boeuf and Dr David Crocker from the University of California in Santa Cruz, shows that as waters get warmer the average weight of an elephant seal pup decreases.

Read more here.

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