Climatic anomaly affects the immune competence of California sea lions

The past decades have been characterized by a growing number of climatic anomalies. As these anomalies tend to occur suddenly and unexpectedly, it is often difficult to procure empirical evidence of their effects on natural populations. We analysed how the recent sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in the northeastern Pacific Ocean affects body condition, nutritional status, and immune competence of California sea lion pups. We found that pup body condition and blood glucose levels of the pups were lower during high SST events, although other biomarkers of malnutrition remained unchanged, suggesting that pups were experiencing early stages of starvation.

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