1. Skuas are top predators in marine ecosystems and may have detrimental effects on seabird communities they prey upon. However, predation rates are poorly understood and poorly quantified. Using a bio-energetics model we estimate seabird predation by great skuas, Stercorarius skua, at a large UK colony (Hermaness, Shetland). We investigate the influence of dietary specialization and fishery management on predation and explore the effect of experimental removal of specialist bird predators. 2. Great skuas at Hermaness required 491.5 x 10(6) kJ and 546.6 x 10(6) kJ of energy in each of two breeding seasons. Breeding skuas fell into one of two groups: a small proportion (5%) of specialist bird predators or the vast majority (95%) that fed opportunistically on birds or specialized on fishery discards. During 1999, great skuas consumed approximate to80 000 kg of fish, which increased to over 90 000 kg in 2001. About 13 000 seabirds were consumed by great skuas each year, with 26-29% being consumed by specialist bird predators. 3. Although it is difficult to assess, great skuas appear to be having a negative impact on seabird populations. Altering model inputs to test differing scenarios revealed that reductions in fishery discards would result in increased seabird predation rates. However, proposed changes in fishery management over the period of the study did not reduce discarding rates, which instead increased. 4. Synthesis and applications. The use of a bioenergetics model reveals that great skua predation may negatively affect seabird populations. Availability of fishery discards is an important factor influencing seabird predation rates, but predicting the effect of changes in fishery management may be difficult in the short term. Specialist bird predators consume large quantities of seabird prey, but this is less significant at the population level. Although experimental removal of specialist bird predators may reduce predation at a minimal loss of skuas, it is unclear whether conspecifics may replace them and retain high rates of predation.
Leading regional academic and noted cricket author, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, believes a head coach of Caribbean origin should preside over West Indies’ campaign at the upcoming ICC World Cup.Currently, controversial Englishman Richard Pybus occupies the role as interim coach but Sir Hilary argued that the May 30 to July 14 showpiece in England was a “global project” and therefore presented an ideal opportunity for Cricket West Indies to create the basis for a “Caribbean coaching system”.Build a cadre of WI coaches “If I have a choice of building up a cadre of West Indian coaches in the context of a World Cup, which is a global project and which is going to bring sustainability into the coaching culture of the Caribbean, that to me seems to be a no-brainer to compare with a person who is likely to use that moment simply for career advancement,” Sir Hilary said this week.“This is a moment for West Indian people, having now changed their direction, having now acquired a leader who is a strategic thinker, for us to dig deep and put together a Caribbean coaching system that would take us into this project and other projects.”Pybus was controversially appointed last January to replace Australian Stuart Law, who led the Windies for two years before quitting to join English County Middlesex.However, the appointment was met with heavy pushback from several CWI directors, with Enoch Lewis publicly condemning the move as lacking in “transparency, fairness and due process” and accusing then president, Dave Cameron, of “hand-picking” Pybus “without the prior knowledge of the Board”.Pybus subsequently oversaw the Windies shock 2-1 win over England in a three-Test home series in February and a 2-2 draw in the five-match one-day series following.West Indies suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the T20 International series.Pybus was expected to oversee the squad until September when a permanent head coach was hired but Sir Hilary pointed out that the World Cup was of such importance, it needed to be utilized strategically to kickstart the process of developing indigenous coaches.“My sense is that West Indian people have to think in terms of project development, project management development skills,” he contended.“The World Cup is a major project in cricket and the West Indian cricket culture should now be identifying coaches who they will expose to this global intervention, not only for this moment but for the future.”Pybus’ future questionable under SkerritPybus’s future was always expected to come under scrutiny once Ricky Skerritt toppled Cameron in CWI elections last month in Jamaica.During the election campaign, Skerritt had spoken about his discomfort with the manner in which Pybus had been chosen.“What I have been upset about … is the way in which Mr Pybus was recruited in an environment where the board was already expressing concern about the propensity and over dependency on coaches from other countries who may not understand the West Indian culture,” Skerritt said in a media interview. read more
For a man who has seen so much in this sport, not even Leyland could have envisioned what he’d witness next.Just a few hours later, Marcus Stroman no-hit Puerto Rico into the seventh inning of what turned into a kick-back, no-worries 8-0 U.S. victory in the World Baseball Classic final.All that stress squeezed into nothing by the right hand of a 5-foot-8 pitcher who normally works for the Toronto Blue Jays, a pitcher who Friday gave up six consecutive hits to this same Puerto Rican team, an American who, because his mother is from Puerto Rico, could have pitched for the other finalist in this tournament.So, America, do you care about the WBC now? With all these juicy storylines? At least a little bit?Add in the fact Stroman told Fox Sports that his mom has been harassed on social media because of his decision to pitch for the U.S., and this was a performance truly from the heart, for both Stroman’s homeland and his home. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> He managed more than 3,500 games in the big leagues over 22 seasons, winning three pennants and a World Series.But now Jim Leyland was readying, at age 72 and on hiatus from his retirement job as a special assistant with the Detroit Tigers, to manage an exhibition.A well-dressed, noisy, partying, flag-waving, face-painted internationally televised exhibition, sure. But an exhibition just the same.“I’m stressed, I’ll be honest with you,” Leyland said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m stressed.” Yeah, even for casual sports fans, this WBC finale was impossible to ignore.I had the opportunity to cover Leyland when he managed the then-Florida Marlins, and, I’ll be honest with you, too: I truly believe the man could chain smoke cups of coffee.Leyland, when on the job, appears just slightly more rigid than a foul pole, only the baseball itself wound tighter.So I believed him when he called the tension of competing in the WBC “unbelievable” and “right up there” with any other event in this sport, including the World Series.I also believed him when he added, “It probably sounds crazy.”It does sound crazy, at the very least, suggesting that a monumental game at Dodger Stadium in 2017 could feature any starting pitcher for the local team other than Clayton Kershaw.But that was Stroman out there Wednesday, firing up a Kershaw-like string of zeroes as the U.S. found one way to finally make Americans acknowledge the WBC in the middle of March Madness.Yes, this exhibition didn’t count, but it certainly didn’t lack meaning, the victory as real as the American high-fives and chest bumps that punctuated it, as sincere as the hugs Stroman received in the dugout after he was replaced.The country that calls baseball its national pastime had been no better than 10-10 all-time in the WBC, playing .500 no way to excite the fans or sell the experience to fellow players.Now, the U.S. has the title and the momentum that carries all defending champions.“I’m hoping in the future that a lot of the players have seen what’s happened here,” Leyland explained, “and will be a little bit more excited about playing in this event.”He said this before the game, the words only gaining significance with each out Stroman collected.Still, champs or not, the riddle remains unsolved, the WBC a tremendous concept that has every element necessary to succeed in this country – except for an ideal time to play it.Or, to be more precise, any time to play it.Cramming a 17-day tournament into a calendar year that already includes a 162-game regular season, a month of playoffs and six weeks of spring training is about as logical as trying to fit a Buick inside a batter’s box.Staging the event now means selling as authentically important games that feature something as artificial as pitch limits.Staging the event after the big league season would mean convincing exhausted players to ramp up things again — but this time with more feeling.Staging the event at midseason would mean asking a pitcher like Kershaw to expend some of his precious second-half bullets for a team other than the Dodgers.Timing, though, is only part of the quandary for the U.S. team, which won this title with — just as an example — Mychal Givens in the bullpen and Mike Trout in Arizona.There’s still the matter of trying to persuade our best players to participate in an event of supposedly profound international standing, knowing baseball’s global status is such that the sport can’t even consistently remain in the Olympics.But what happened here Wednesday night certainly won’t hurt the WBC movement for the U.S., Stroman giving up next to nothing, a starter so dominant that he was a reliever of stress, as well. read more