Health evaluation of penguins (Sphenisciformes) following mortality in the Falklands (South Atlantic).
In the Falklands, heavy mortality of rock-hopper penguins Eudyptes chrysocome occurred during the 1985-86 breeding season. Starvation was diagnosed as the primary cause of death, possibly caused by a shortage of euphausiid crustaceans (krill) due to unusual meterological conditions. 'Puffinosis' may possibly have been a contributory factor; otherwise no conclusive evidence of infectious disease or toxicosis was found and also no evidence of radioactive contamination. In the 1986-87 breeding season no unusual mortality occurred, but 99 apparently healthy penguins were examined, i.e., rockhoppers Eudyptes chrysocome syn E. crestatus, gentoos Pygoscelis papua and Magellanics Spheniscus magellanicus. Full necropsies were carried out on 54. Tissue examinations were made for cadmium, copper, iron, manganese, mercury, lead and zinc. High tissue cadmium concentrations found in healthy birds in 1987 were similar to those in penguins which died in 1986, and therefore not considered to be of pathological significance. Although there has been no repetition of the unusually hot 1985-86 breeding season in the Falklands, penguins and other seabirds have had fluctuating breeding successes since then. The precise cause, including the roles of meteorological conditions and overexploitation of some forms of prey species, is unclear. (+info)
Cancer incidence in the Falkland Islands.
Cancer incidence in the Falkland Islands, 1989-2000, was compared with rates in England and Wales, from which most Islanders originate. Colon and rectum cancer incidence was significantly raised 1989-93 but greatly reduced after 1994, when colonoscopic screening in high-risk families and sigmoidoscopic screening in the general population were introduced. (+info)
The effect of environmental change on vascular plant and cryptogam communities from the Falkland Islands and the Maritime Antarctic.
BACKGROUND: Antarctic terrestrial vegetation is subject to one of the most extreme climates on Earth. Currently, parts of Antarctica are one of the fastest warming regions on the planet. During 3 growing seasons, we investigated the effect of experimental warming on the diversity and abundance of coastal plant communities in the Maritime Antarctic region (cryptogams only) and the Falkland Islands (vascular plants only). We compared communities from the Falkland Islands (51 degrees S, mean annual temperature 7.9 degrees C), with those of Signy Island (60 degrees S, -2.1 degrees C) and Anchorage Island (67 degrees S, -2.6 degrees C), and experimental temperature manipulations at each of the three islands using Open Top Chambers (OTCs). RESULTS: Despite the strong difference in plant growth form dominance between the Falkland Islands and the Maritime Antarctic, communities across the gradient did not differ in total diversity and species number. During the summer months, the experimental temperature increase at 5 cm height in the vegetation was similar between the locations (0.7 degrees C across the study). In general, the response to this experimental warming was low. Total lichen cover showed a non-significant decreasing trend at Signy Island (p < 0.06). In the grass community at the Falkland Islands total vegetation cover decreased more in the OTCs than in adjacent control plots, and two species disappeared within the OTCs after only two years. This was most likely a combined consequence of a previous dry summer and the increase in temperature caused by the OTCs. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that small temperature increases may rapidly lead to decreased soil moisture, resulting in more stressful conditions for plants. The more open plant communities (grass and lichen) appeared more negatively affected by such changes than dense communities (dwarf shrub and moss). (+info)
Evidence for a new avian paramyxovirus serotype 10 detected in rockhopper penguins from the Falkland Islands.