Pronounced inter-colony variation in the foraging ecology of Australasian gannets : influence of habitat differences

Angel, Lauren P, Berlincourt, Maud and Arnould, John PY 2016, Pronounced inter-colony variation in the foraging ecology of Australasian gannets : influence of habitat differences, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 556, pp. 261-272, doi: 10.3354/meps11845.

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Title Pronounced inter-colony variation in the foraging ecology of Australasian gannets : influence of habitat differences
Author(s) Angel, Lauren PORCID iD for Angel, Lauren P
Berlincourt, Maud
Arnould, John PYORCID iD for Arnould, John PY
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 556
Start page 261
End page 272
Total pages 12
Publisher Inter-Search
Place of publication Amelinghausen, Germany
Publication date 2016-09
ISSN 0171-8630
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Foraging ecology
GPS tracking
Stable isotopes
Morus serrator
Summary The predictability of prey due to oceanographic features can result in large aggregations of apex predators. Central place foragers, such as seabirds, are limited in their foraging duration and range during the breeding period, which can restrict their ability to reach such locations. Segregation by colony and sex can further restrict foraging range and may have direct implications for the foraging ecology of a species. In parts of its range, the Australasian gannet Morus serrator breeds in colonies of relatively close proximity and has recently been found to display sexual dimorphism. Two neighbouring breeding colonies in Bass Strait that experience divergent environmental conditions were investigated to determine whether these conditions or the sex of the individual are important variables influencing foraging behaviour in this species. GPS tracking and accelerometry were paired with stable isotope analysis to compare differences in foraging effort, habitat use and diet. Birds from Point Danger, a large colony located near a seasonally strong upwelling, travelled considerably further (77%) than birds from Pope's Eye, a small colony in a nutrient-poor embayment. However, within colonies no sexual differences in foraging effort were found. While the colonies did not overlap in foraging areas, a degree of sexual segregation was apparent within both colonies (Point Danger 46.3% overlap and Pope's Eye 73.7% overlap in home range). Furthermore, stable isotope analysis indicated birds from each colony fed at different trophic niches. This study reveals differences in habitat use and, consequently, dietary niches between and within neighbouring colonies.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps11845
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Inter-Research
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