blame climate change
If you didn't already have a reason to hate climate change, think of the puffins.
A recently-published report shows that thousands of puffins and other seabirds died in the Bering Sea during the winter of 2016 to 2017, and scientists say human-induced climate change is the likely culprit, reports Science News.
The report, dubbed "Unusual mortality of tufted puffins in the eastern Bering Sea," estimates between 3,150 and 8,800 puffins died during that fall and winter. During this period, bird carcasses were found at a rate 60-80 times higher than the normal baseline, with an unprecedented amount of puffins among them, per the report. The birds showed signs of starvation, per Science News, which was likely caused by warmer temperatures creating less of a breeding ground for plankton.
Sea ice, which drives plankton to the waters, has become increasingly scarce in the Bering Sea. The decrease in plankton has also caused other small fish species to dissipate, creating a ricochet in the Bering Sea's food web, reports Science News.