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Departure time influences foraging associations in little penguins

Sutton, Grace J., Hoskins, Andrew J., Berlincourt, Maud and Arnould, John P. Y. 2017, Departure time influences foraging associations in little penguins, PLoS one, vol. 12, no. 8, pp. 1-16, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182734.

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Title Departure time influences foraging associations in little penguins
Author(s) Sutton, Grace J.
Hoskins, Andrew J.
Berlincourt, Maud
Arnould, John P. Y.ORCID iD for Arnould, John P. Y.
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 12
Issue number 8
Article ID e0182734
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2017
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Summary Recent studies have documented that little penguins (Eudyptula minor) associate at sea, displaying synchronised diving behaviour throughout a foraging trip. However, previous observations were limited to a single foraging trip where only a small number of individuals were simultaneously tracked. Consequently, it is not known whether coordinated behaviour is consistent over time, or what factors influence it. In the present study, breeding adults were concurrently instrumented with GPS and dive behaviour data loggers for at least 2 consecutive foraging trips during guard and post-guard stage at two breeding colonies (London Bridge and Gabo Island, south-eastern Australia) of contrasting population size (approximately 100 and 30,000-40,000, respectively). At both colonies, individuals were sampled in areas of comparable nesting density and spatial area. At London Bridge, where individuals use a short (23 m) common pathway from their nests to the shoreline, > 90% (n = 42) of birds displayed foraging associations and 53-60% (n = 20) maintained temporally consistent associations with the same conspecifics. Neither intrinsic (sex, size or body condition) nor extrinsic (nest proximity) factors were found to influence foraging associations. However, individuals that departed from the colony at a similar time were more likely to associate during a foraging trip. At Gabo Island, where individuals use a longer (116 m) pathway with numerous tributaries to reach the shoreline, few individuals (< 31%; n = 13) from neighbouring nests associated at sea and only 1% (n = 1) maintained associations over subsequent trips. However, data from animal-borne video cameras indicated individuals at this colony displayed foraging associations of similar group size to those at London Bridge. This study reveals that group foraging behaviour occurs at multiple colonies and the pathways these individuals traverse with conspecifics may facilitate opportunistic group formation and resulting in foraging associations irrespective of nesting proximity and other factors.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0182734
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
060201 Behavioural Ecology
MD Multidisciplinary
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 ©2017, Sutton et al.
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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