Gulls switch to trash-diet as fish stocks run low

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

By Sandhya Sekar for the New Scientist on a research paper by Louise Blight et al.

Gulls tucking in to discarded food or flocking around landfills has become a familiar sight. Now data spanning 149 years has shown that substituting fish for less nutritious food is linked to population declines and lower fertility in glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens).

Louise Blight from the University of British Columbia and her colleagues looked at 270 gulls' feather samples from museums, taken between 1860 and 2009. Using the ratios of heavy isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, the team pieced together the dietary habits of these seabirds, all of which had lived in the Salish Sea region off the coast of south-western Canada and the north-western US...

>Read full article here<

>Read original research paper here<