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Combined use of GPS and accelerometry reveals fine scale three-dimensional foraging behaviour in the short-tailed shearwater

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Maude Berlincourt, Lauren Angel, John ArnouldJohn Arnould
Determining the foraging behaviour of free-ranging marine animals is fundamental for assessing their habitat use and how they may respond to changes in the environment. However, despite recent advances in bio-logging technology, collecting information on both at-sea movement patterns and activity budgets still remains difficult in small pelagic seabird species due to the constraints of instrument size. The short-tailed shearwater, the most abundant seabird species in Australia (ca 23 million individuals), is a highly pelagic procellariiform. Despite its ecological importance to the region, almost nothing is known about its at-sea behaviour, in particular, its foraging activity. Using a combination of GPS and tri-axial accelerometer data-loggers, the fine scale three-dimensional foraging behaviour of 10 breeding individuals from two colonies was investigated. Five at-sea behaviours were identified: (1) resting on water, (2) flapping flight, (3) gliding flight, (4) foraging (i.e., surface foraging and diving events), and (5) taking-off. There were substantial intra- and inter- individual variations in activity patterns, with individuals spending on average 45.8% (range: 17.1-70.0%) of time at sea resting on water and 18.2% (range: 2.3-49.6%) foraging. Individuals made 76.4 ± 65.3 dives (range: 8-237) per foraging trip (mean duration 9.0 ± 1.9 s), with dives also recorded during night-time. With the continued miniaturisation of recording devices, the use of combined data-loggers could provide us with further insights into the foraging behaviour of small procellariiforms, helping to better understand interactions with their prey.

History

Journal

PLoS one

Volume

10

Issue

10

Pagination

1 - 16

Publisher

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Location

San Francisco, Calif.

ISSN

1932-6203

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Public Library of Science (PLoS)