Changes in body size of Atlantic Puffins at Machias Seal Island (MSI) from 1995-2019
University of New Brunswick
Body size of fledging Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) at Machias Seal Island have been decreasing over the past 25 years (1995-2019) likely due to climate change. Using fledging size data archived in the Microsoft Access data base “seabird finder” I asked three questions: 1) have puffin fledgers gotten smaller in size (wing chord and mass) over the last 25 years, 2) can small fledgers continue to grow (in wing chord) after leaving the island, and 3) are adult Atlantic Puffins decreasing in size (wing chord). Using linear regressions, I found support for the hypothesis that fledgers are getting smaller with time and that small fledgers grow more after leaving the island than large fledgers. Finally, I found a marginally insignificant result suggesting that adult size is changing in response to fledging size (i.e., adults are becoming smaller with time).