WHY ARE SEABIRDS IMPORTANT?
Seabirds nest and breed colonially on offshore islands in large numbers. Most of them feed extensively on fish and other smaller marine organisms, such as squid.
Seabirds transfer minerals and nutrients from their marine food to the topsoil especially on coastal and island ecosystems as they defecate. This helps to maintain healthy vegetation.
HOW IT AFFECTS HUMANS?
Vegetation then flourishes and maintains the soil on these islands, preventing it from being washed away into the sea.
Hence without seabirds, siltation would occur: sediments, like fine sand or clay, would be carried by unchecked rain water and deposit as a sediment in coastal areas. While the sediment in transport is in suspension, it acts as a pollutant for the aquatic life which requires clean water. Marine habitats such as coral reefs would deteriorate. Many fish species which rely on coral reefs to spawn, would see their populations decrease in the long-run.
WHAT IF SEABIRDS DISAPPEARED?
If seabirds disappear, it would indirectly impact local communities who rely on fish for food and livelihoods, on clean marine environments for ecotourism, and on soil structure for localised agriculture.