Changes in the weather in Antarctica can harm the health of baby seals

Severe storms and high humidity in the Antarctic due to global climate change, may lead to death of baby seals in the first months of life, according to a paper published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

Changing weather conditions, which is forecast meteorologists expect in the coming decades coast of Antarctica and the islands will affect its thermoregulation seal pups and may increase mortality, the article says.

"If true climate models that predict changes in the weather in Antarctica for the next 10 years, baby seals, according to our estimates, will have less weight … perhaps unfavorable force them to reduce their" child's play ", in which babies learn from Parents hunt "- said the head of research, an employee of the University of Santa Cruz (California, USA) Birzhitt McDonald (Birgitte McDonald).

The team studied 48 young Kerguelen fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) from the colony on Livingston Island, located near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The objective was to find out how much energy you need pups, and whether its enough to successfully grow and develop in less favorable conditions.

The researchers calculated the energy balance in young animals in three stages. As a child, in the first four months of life, the cub is powered solely by calorie milk, and in the first month of the three-quarters of the energy spent on heating and survival, and only 25% — the growth of the organism. By the end of the fourth month of the share on the growth of leaves is up to 60% energy. The worse the weather, the more power is spent on heating the body, therefore, it is to the detriment of physiological development and training of hunting skills, they say.

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