Climate change causing albatross divorce: Study
LONDON, Nov 25: When relationships end it might be because the spark has disappeared, or maybe you just can't make time for one another. But can climate change cause break-ups?
It might do, according to a new study which suggests albatrosses - some of the world's most loyal creatures - are "divorcing" more. Research published in the Royal Society journal looked at 15,500 breeding pairs in the Falkland Islands over 15 years.
Albatross divorce is basically just cheating, in human terms. It's when one part of a couple mates with a different individual. Like humans, albatrosses also have an awkward growing-up phase, trying (and sometimes failing) to figure out the best way to get into a relationship.
But ultimately, when they find a good match, they normally stick together for life. Just 1% of albatrosses separate after choosing their life partner - much lower than the human divorce rate in the UK. "Monogamy and long-term bonds is very common for them," says Francesco Ventura, researcher at the University of Lisbon and co-author of the study.
But in the years covered by the study with warmer water temperatures, up to 8% of albatross couples split up. The study says "environmentally-driven divorce may be an overlooked consequence" of climate change.
Normally, albatross divorce is triggered when a pair fail to breed, so they find new partners in the next breeding season. But the findings showed pairs were divorcing even if they'd had a successful breeding season. Francesco says there are two possible theories for the rise - the first one being linked to the struggles of a long-distance relationship. -BBC