Earth & Environmental Science Journalism:

Science Research Project


The Effects of El Niño-Southern Oscillation Events on Seabirds in the Central Pacific: 1963-1969; 1984-1998.

Dina Cappiello



Long-term ecological data enables researchers to assess the effects of large-scale climate phenomena on populations. In this study, data gathered on the seabird populations of Johnston Atoll (16.44°N, 169.31°W) in the Central Pacific from 1963-1969 and 1984-1988 is used in conjunction with climatological data on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to determine the ecological impact of 6 separate ENSO events. It is found that ENSO, which repeatedly reduces rainfall at this location, has no clear, systematic effect on the 12 breeding birds surveyed in this study. This paper offers a model for pairing meteorological data with long-term ecological research to uncover how different species respond to climate events.

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Last updated: 8 January 2001, KAK.