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Use of terrestrial habitats by burrow-nesting seabirds in south-eastern Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Nicole Schumann, P Dann, John ArnouldJohn Arnould
The size and growth of seabird populations are believed to be regulated, in part, by the availability and quality of suitable breeding habitat. Global climate change is predicted to affect coastal habitats and may, therefore, have important consequences for the terrestrial breeding habitat of seabirds and hence seabird populations. The present study assessed use of breeding habitat in the four most abundant species of seabird breeding in south-eastern Australia using a generalised additive mixed-modelling approach. Habitat characteristics were measured on 13 islands in winter and summer, 2008-11. Burrows of the four species were associated with one or more habitat parameters, potentially explained by predator avoidance, physical requirements and possibly by interspecific competition. Whereas the habitat characteristics used by each species showed broad interspecific overlap, there was strong divergence, and the four species typically occupied different nesting sites within breeding areas. Information on the proportion of available habitat used and the influence of breeding habitat on reproductive success would enhance current understanding of what constitutes optimal breeding habitat as well as the role of interspecific competition in this assemblage of seabirds.

History

Journal

Emu

Volume

113

Issue

2

Pagination

135 - 144

Publisher

CSIRO Publishing

Location

Melbourne, Vic.

ISSN

0158-4197

eISSN

1448-5540

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal