The effect of geographical factors, environmental, and competition on Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula

The effect of geographical factors, environmental, and competition on Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) breeding success.

Word Count: 2757 Words

Introduction (800)

Atlantic puffins (Fratercula artica) are type of species of sea creature birds that found mostly in the North Atlantic Ocean. The birds are only found in the sea, on coastal beaches and outlying islands (Nettleship et al. 2014). Puffins have a crucial environmental contribution as hunters that eat creatures that exist in the oceans (Stirling 2020). Atlantic puffins sometimes have to move from location to the other to search for food in the sea (Bittel, 2016). For the past several decades, the puffins of Maine leave for the water in August and not return until April of the next year. No one knows what happened to the birds when puffins left the beach (Bittel, 2021). The Puffins tend to migrate in two locations, first heading to the east coast to the fish-rich ocean of Gull Island, then migrating southeastern and spend a large part of the winter on the Atlantic Ocean around 200 miles off the coast of Cape Cod.

The geographical factors have a large impact on the breeding success of Atlantic Puffins. Puffins nest in populations that located at the coast of the Gull Island (Liebig et al. 2018). The success of seabird nesting varies wildly among populations and years. Changes in the physical and social aspects of nest locations, on the other hand, might cause diversity within a colony. When the number of appropriate or ideal nesting places within a colony is restricted, some individuals are compelled to nest in less desirable areas or not at all (Buckley and Buckley 2010). While certain breeding locations are greater than others, and the effectiveness of puffins breeding at different locations can sometimes vary in a predictable way, some variance in breeding efficiency within the population can be related to features of the puffins rather than the breeding locations. Previous research was performed by (Rodway et al. 1996) to re-estimate the relationship at the Gull Island (Newfoundland) location which is the largest ocean in North America. This was because of the ongoing issues about the condition of the Atlantic Puffins that researchers were concerned about. At Gull Island, the researchers investigated the impact of puffins and climate as factors or indicators of birds breeding performance.

The impacts of environmental factors on breeding success have historically been the most well shown. The population of Atlantic puffin decrease when the sea temperature rise. This species is incredibly vulnerable to the threat of climate change, including those of rising water temperatures and resulting changes in predator distribution, quantity, and quality (Durant et al. 2013). Breeding problems are commonly attributed to a lack of food, however increasing temperatures can result in conflicts between plankton blooms, food availability peaks, and birds breeding periods, resulting in lower offspring growth, shorter nesting times, and reduced bird success (Sandvik et al. 2011) found that as sea temperature rises, the survival of puffins and other seabirds in the North Atlantic decreases.

According to recent study on Atlantic puffin shows that the competition in the winter for food affect breeding success. Seabirds are major competitors of individuals, eggs, and younger birds at the nesting colonies, and birds may even kleptoparasitize nutrition individuals (Finney et al. 2001). Additionally, birds frequently interact with other ground-nesting seabirds for nesting locations. The existence of birds, who function as both prey and competitors, is thought to have a substantial impact on the nesting population of other seabirds. Since other seabirds and Atlantic Puffins do not compete for breeding sites directly, seabirds frequently consume small puffins and kleptoparasitize adult birds as birds come back to the nest with food.

Breeding success is an essential environmental strategy that has an impact on the population trends of organisms and the development of new appropriate habitats. The hypothesis for this research is that Gull Island (Newfoundland) location will have an increase in the breeding success compared to Cape Cod peninsula location. The purpose of this research is to figure out how the geographical factors, environmental, and competition effect the Atlantic Puffin breeding success.

Methods (414)

The research will take place at two locations. The first location will be the Cape Cod which is a popular peninsula in the southeast coast of Massachusetts. The other location will be the Gull Island. This location is in Newfoundland, Canada (Calvert et al. 2011). There are rocks surrounded the Island on both sides west and south (Breton & Diamond, 2014). However, the Cape Cod location surrounded with warm water. Over the next three years, 7-9 volunteers will gather information from the winter migratory season until the spring nesting periods.

Atlantic Puffins will be collected using a triangle trap connected to a long rod, then place to sleep using the bird calmer called midazolam drug. Puffins will be transported to the laboratory to be tagged, and then released the seabirds back into the original retrieval area. The tracker that will be used called “geolocators.” It will then be attached to 20-30 Atlantic Puffins. After the breeding cycle in Newfoundland, the attaching operation will be performed. The methodologies will follow instructions indicated in order to make sure that the seabirds can tolerate the heaviness of the geolocators therefore all birds tagged come to the breeding location after migration during the first year of the experiment (Guilford et al. 2010).

The quantity of Atlantic puffins in the chosen population will be collected at both locations throughout the next two years, and the growth in puffins within the group will be documented. The devices that were tagged will determine the newborn puffins from the original group of puffins (Jessopp et al. 2013). The independent variable going to be the two locations that puffins will be tested on throughout the spring season. The dependent variable going to be the population’s growth or decline of Atlantic puffins. The geolocators will be used at this step to trach the puffins during the day.

The techniques will be based on the procedure described in article. Multitrace Jensen Software System will be used after collecting the data from the geolocators to calculate the length and width every day (Harris et al. 2010). These data will be collected from the geolocators that will be attached to the puffins (20-30 puffins) after the study being conducted. P ≤ 0.05 will be calculated using a statistical test called linear regression as well as the level of significance. The number of recently born puffins at the two locations will be used in the linear regression formula to indicate the level of collaboration between the breeding rate of puffins and temperature. 


2. Using drug to calm the birds

2. Using drug to calm the birds

1. Fishing Puffins

1. Fishing Puffins

3. Attach GPS to track the puffins’ route.

3. Attach GPS to track the puffins’ route.

5. Track them using MultiTrace software.

5. Track them using MultiTrace software.

4. Let them fly again.

4. Let them fly again.

6. Record the number of birds at the two locations.

6. Record the number of birds at the two locations.


Budget Category


Unit Cost (USD)

Number of Units

Total Requested







Round-trip ticket from Newfoundland to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.




Rent a Van

Need 2 van to be able to move freely between locations. 2 days at each location.





Gas needed everyday, for 4 days total.



















Living Expenses





Money Spend daily

food, drink daily for 4 days. Each day is $85 per person.





Sleep in a hotel for 2 days at each location.














Field Supplies






Nets are needed to catch the puffins easly. Each person will have one.





Will need 50 dosage for all puffins.





Will attach one to each puffin.




Lab Supplies






record all info needed for the research.





To give the drug to the puffins.





Each undergraduate students will have one.



















Undergraduate Students

To help conduct the experiment in the field.




Lab Technician

Help with the laboratory work.



















Data Analysis/Software





Software System

To record data.





























Budget Justification (146)

The total amount needed is $165,252.00. Most of the money needed will be spent on around-trip ticket from Newfoundland to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Each unit costs $2,350.00 and13 people needed which becomes $30,550.00. This round trip is needed to ensure the study will be successful because majority of puffins are located at the two locations. The second big category is having 10 undergraduate students, each will get $5,500 and a total of $55,000. Also, two lab technicians are required to help with the laboratory work. Each will be paid $25,000 over the next two years, that makes it $50,000. Undergraduate students and lab technicians are important to help conduct the experiment correctly. Lastly, lab supplies overall will be $9,485 for 3 laptops, 60 injections for the two locations and 13 microscopes. Injections will used to give the medications to puffins, and laptops to record data on.

Expected results (162)

The expected results will show that the Gull Island (Newfoundland) location will have an increase in the breeding success compared to Cape Cod peninsula location. The lab technicians will be using the geolocators that were attached to the puffins to download the data to find the latitude and longitude per day using a software system called Multitrace Jensen (Guilford et al. 2011). This system will illustrate the flow that the Atlantic puffins (Fratercula artica) will take between the two locations. The data will be obtained by the volunteers will indicate a higher breeding success in the population of seabirds in the Newfoundland location compared to the Cape Cod location which will indicate a zero-breeding success (Harris et al. 2010). Linear regression will be used to compare the correlation of the breeding success at both locations.

Table 1. Figure shows the increase of breeding success in the Newfoundland location

Table2. Figure shows the decrease of breeding success in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts location

Discussion (469)

The hypothesis of this research is that Gull Island (Newfoundland) location will have an increase in the breeding success compared to Cape Cod peninsula location. The purpose of this research is to figure out how the geographical factors, environmental, and competition effect the Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) breeding success. Geographical factors, environmental, and competition will have an important role in Atlantic puffins breeding success. At each location, breeding success will be measured from 20-30 Atlantic puffins using Multitrace Jensen Software Systems. This process will be performed once a year (from April to August), for a total of two years in a row throughout the study period. (Durant et al. 2003) is a study that has been conducted about the offspring’s nutritional requirements and food sources that were significant aspects that impacted the Atlantic puffins’ breeding success. This concept concluded that successful recruitment will be significant if recruitment production at a particular nutritional level matched food availability. The puffins population’s breeding rate would suffer as a result of such a discrepancy between feeding requirements and prey availability.

This research will shed new light on the feeding ecology of nesting rate in Atlantic puffins within the birds range and will identifies critical foraging locations for seabirds at large nesting sites, which is crucial information for survival (Anker et al. 2006). Furthermore, using a multi-population strategy helps people to learn more about the factors that cause low breeding rate in Atlantic puffins, which has resulted in population decreases and the species’ extinction in Europe. These findings have far-reaching implications for other related seabirds that rely on similar species, highlighting the importance of multi-population research (Anker et al. 2006).

Atlantic puffins benefit the ecosystem because Puffins assist individuals by serving as factors of marine habitats, particularly overfishing. The amount of fish brought to the sea by puffins for the babies indicates the enormous amount of fish. Atlantic Puffins would then take home fewer fish if overfishing minimize fish populations. That is a bad thing because people depend on seafood. This grant proposal will give a lot of chances for people in the USA and Canada to Volunteer due to the communion that will perform at both locations.

As stated previously, (Durant et al, 2006) study was done using geolocators to track puffins, that means that the current research should be funded to achieve a successful result as past conducted studies. The total amount needed is $165,252.00 to cover all the expenses throughout the next two years. The result of this research can be compared to the past because the population of Atlantic puffin decrease when the sea temperature rise, and this was similar to Bittel (2021) study. Future changes in water temperature will most certainly determine the sustainability of current puffin populations, as well as the sustainability of several other seabirds.

Literature Cited

Anker-Nilssen, T., & Aarvak, T. (2006). Long-term studies of seabirds in the municipality of Røst, Nordland. Results with focus on 2004 and 2005. NINA Report, 133, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

Bittel, J. 2021, May 4. Adorable puffins are tougher than they look. National Geographic.

Breton, A.R., and Diamond, A.W. 2014. Annual survival of adult Atlantic Puffins Fratercula arctica is positively correlated with Herring Clupea harengus availability. Ibis 156(1): 35-47.

Buckley, F. G. and P.A. Buckley, 2010. Habitat selection and marine birds. Pages 69-112 in Behavior of Marine Animals Volume 4 (J. Burger, B. I. Olla and H. E. Winn, Eds). Plenum Press, New York.

Calvert, A. M., and G. J. Robertson. 2002. Using multiple abundance estimators to infer population trends in Atlantic puffins. Canadian Journal of Zoology; Ottawa 80:1014–1021.

Durant, J.; Anker-Nilssen, T.; Stenseth, N. C. 2013. Trophic interactions under climate fluctuations: the Atlantic puffin as an example. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 270: 1461-1466.

Durant, J. M., T. Anker-Nilssen, and N. C. Stenseth. 2003. Trophic interactions under climate fluctuations: the Atlantic puffin as an example. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 270:1461–1466.

Durant Joël M, Anker-Nilssen Tycho and Stenseth Nils Chr. 2016 Ocean climate prior to breeding affects the duration of the nestling period in the Atlantic puffinBiol. Lett.2628–631

Fayet, A. L., R. Freeman, T. Anker-Nilssen, A. Diamond, K. E. Erikstad, D. Fifield, M. G. Fitzsimmons, E. S. Hansen, M. P. Harris, M. Jessopp, A.-L. Kouwenberg, S. Kress, S. Mowat, C. M. Perrins, A. Petersen, I. K. Petersen, T. K. Reiertsen, G. J. Robertson, P. Shannon, I. A. Sigurðsson, A. Shoji, S. Wanless, and T. Guilford. 2017. Ocean-wide drivers of migration strategies and their influence on population breeding performance in a declining seabird. Current Biology 27:3871-3878.e3

Guilford, T., R. Freeman, D. Boyle, B. Dean, H. Kirk, R. Phillips, and C. Perrins. 2011. A dispersive migration in the Atlantic Puffin and its implications for migratory navigation. PloS one 6:e21336.

Harris, M. P., F. Daunt, M. Newell, R. A. Phillips, and S. Wanless. 2010. Wintering areas of adult Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica from a North Sea colony as revealed by geolocation technology. Marine Biology; Heidelberg 157:827–836.

Jessopp, M. J., Cronin, M., Doyle, T. K., Wilson, M., McQuatters-Gollop, A., Newton, S., & Phillips, R. A. (2013). Transatlantic migration by post-breeding puffins: a strategy to exploit a temporarily abundant food resource? Marine Biology, 160(10), 2755–2762.

Name: G Number:

Please include this rubric at the end of your paper when you turn it in.

Rubric for Final Grant Proposal Project

This assignment fulfills part of the Writing Intensive Requirements for BIOL 308. You may go over the maximum word count if necessary for your specific project, but you must meet the minimum word count for the entire paper.

Points Possible:


Points Off:


(10 points)

Double-spaced, Font 12pt, Times New Roman.

Must have 1” margins throughout the entire paper.

Paper title and cover page correct, entire word count on title page (maximum 2500).

Use of correct sections with titles that all have the same format and justification.

Scientific names formatted correctly in entire paper.

Grammar and Sentence Structure

(10 points)

No personal pronouns are used in the entire paper.

Sentence structure is correct and concise. No extra words or fluff.

Paragraph structure is correct (One topic/paragraph).

Correct grammar with formal, scientific language (no slang/colloquialism).

Use of appropriate grammatical tense (usually future) and past tense when describing published papers.


(10 points)

Highlight main points and conclusions of the entire paper.

Abstract is not alone on a page. Introduction follows on the same page with one blank line between all sections.

Introduction (10 points)

Includes general background knowledge, and topic sentences.

All in-text citations appear in the Literature Cited section.

Concluding paragraph contains the purpose and hypothesis of the paper.


(10 points)

Uses correct method for describing with the appropriate catalog numbers and company citation {Ex. (Model; Manufacturer, City, State)}.

Includes materials required for replicating the experiment. Does not include unnecessary materials (paper/pencil for recording).

Formatted in paragraph style (no lists).

Contains a description of the data analysis to be used.

Methods Diagram

(10 points)

A professional diagram that represents the entire experiment.

A correct caption is present below the figure.

Figure is comprehensive enough to demonstrate the entire experiment.

Figures in paper numbered sequentially starting from 1.

Budget and Justification

(10 points)

Includes table with a break-down of project costs.

Justification includes a short description of why expensive items are required.

A correct caption is present above the table.

Tables in paper numbered sequentially from 1.

Expected Results

(10 points)

Clear and concise description of expected results.

Includes plan for statistical analysis.

Does not contain fictitious or made-up data. Just a description of what is expected.

Does not contain figures and tables from published literature.


(10 points)

Broadly introduces expectation of results. Mentions large-scale impacts of study.

Includes a critical analysis of the benefits of the study.

Integrates your expected results and uses outside sources.

Includes a statement/paragraph that attempts to convince the funding agency that this study is worth funding.

Literature Cited

(10 points)

Format as described in class (Ecology style)

Fifteen citations minimum; citations are all peer-reviewed journal articles.

All entries have been cited in the paper.

Hanging indent, alphabetized by first author.

Final Grade:

Failure to apply instructor edits will result in increased point deductions. Final paper should be free of all editing marks and comments.