Nov. 27, 2021

A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B has provided evidence of the effect of environmental conditions on the longevity of relationships — among a population of albatrosses.


  • It suggests that environmental conditions cause splits between black-browed albatrosses in the South Atlantic, which otherwise have long-term monogamous relationships.

  • The researchers say “divorce” is triggered by breeding failure and that it yields some reproductive benefits, particularly for females which are more likely to find new partners and attain a higher breeding success.

  • They say their results suggest divorce in long-lived monogamous sea populations is an adaptive strategy.

  • The researchers analysed a long-term demographic dataset of the black-browed albatross population in the Falkland Islands, a group of remote islands in the South Atlantic about 483 km from the South American mainland.


  • Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds related to the procellariids, storm petrels, and diving petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses).

  • They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific.

  • Of the 22 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, all are listed as at some level of concern; three species are critically endangered, five species are endangered, seven species are near threatened, and seven species are vulnerable.