New study reveals damaging effects of tsunamis on Pacific birds

Updated: Jun. 22, 2017 at 9:01 PM HST
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PAPAHANAUMOKUAKEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A recent study examined the impacts of a 2011 tsunami on birds in the Pacific -- and the results aren't favorable for wildlife.

The study titled, "Lessons from the Tohoku tsunami: a model for island avifauna conservation prioritization" found that the 2011 Tohoku tsunami wiped out more than 275,000 Black-footed, Laysan albatross and Bonin petrel nests.

The study also found that due to flooding and long-term sea level rise, nesting grounds for the birds move further inland on smaller islands and atolls throughout the Pacific.

"Much of our Pacific island biodiversity is vulnerable to catastrophic flooding. Many of the bird's eggs are in low-lying island baskets," U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Dr. Michelle Reynolds said. "The research here shows that sudden flooding from dramatic events like tsunamis as well as longer-term sea level rise create risks for the birds, (and reveals) opportunities to establish breeding colonies at higher elevations."

For more information on the study, click here.

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