Within-colony spatial segregation leads to foraging behaviour variation in a seabird

Sánchez, Sonia, Reina, Richard D., Kato, Akiko, Ropert-Coudert, Yan, Cavallo, Catherine, Hays, Graeme C. and Chiaradia, Andre 2018, Within-colony spatial segregation leads to foraging behaviour variation in a seabird, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 606, pp. 215-230, doi: 10.3354/meps12764.

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Title Within-colony spatial segregation leads to foraging behaviour variation in a seabird
Author(s) Sánchez, Sonia
Reina, Richard D.
Kato, Akiko
Ropert-Coudert, Yan
Cavallo, Catherine
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C. orcid.org/0000-0002-3314-8189
Chiaradia, Andre
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 606
Start page 215
End page 230
Total pages 16
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2018-11-15
ISSN 0171-8630
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Prey encounter
Diving behaviour
Colonial breeding
Foraging efficiency
Breeding ecology
Eudyptula minor
Summary © The authors 2018. Central-place foraging in large seabird colonies leads to high levels of intra-specific competition for food resources, often resulting in between-colony spatial segregation. However, little is known about within-colony variation in foraging behaviour that may arise from breeding locations. Using little penguins Eudyptula minor from a large colony (ca. 32 000 individuals) on Phillip Island (Australia), we present a novel approach combining GPS, diving, acceleration and bathymetry data. We investigated within-colony variation in 3-dimensional distribution of prey encounters and its consequences for foraging behaviour and breeding success. Over 1 breeding season, we simultaneously tracked 63 little penguins from 2 breeding sites located ∼2 km apart and monitored their breeding success. We recorded 58 452 dives, of which 11 992 had prey en-counter events associated. Results revealed strong spatial foraging segregation between sites throughout the breeding season and differences between sites in prey encounter depth during chick-rearing (mean ± SE, 11.8 ± 0.2 m vs. 17.3 ± 0.3 m). Birds from one site foraged in deeper waters and appar ently experienced higher levels of competition, r esulting in lower prey encounter rates and lower foraging efficiency (i.e. body mass gain after foraging trips), hence these birds seemed less successful. However, breeding success was high (>1.5 chicks fledged per pair) at both sites, indicating that food was not a limiting factor that year. Nonetheless, breeding success records over the last 12 yr showed that the site where birds foraged at deeper depths produced fewer chicks. Our findings highlight the importance of understanding small-scale spatial segregation to capture foraging behaviour variation within large seabird colonies.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps12764
Field of Research 0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30117905

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