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Interspecific and intraspecific foraging differentiation of neighbouring tropical seabirds

Austin, RE, De Pascalis, F, Votier, SC, Haakonsson, J, Arnould, John PY, Ebanks-Petrie, G, Newton, J, Harvey, J and Green, JA 2021, Interspecific and intraspecific foraging differentiation of neighbouring tropical seabirds, Movement ecology, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1-16, doi: 10.1186/s40462-021-00251-z.

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Title Interspecific and intraspecific foraging differentiation of neighbouring tropical seabirds
Author(s) Austin, RE
De Pascalis, F
Votier, SC
Haakonsson, J
Arnould, John PYORCID iD for Arnould, John PY orcid.org/0000-0003-1124-9330
Ebanks-Petrie, G
Newton, J
Harvey, J
Green, JA
Journal name Movement ecology
Volume number 9
Issue number 1
Article ID 27
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2021-05-26
ISSN 2051-3933
2051-3933
Keyword(s) Brown booby
Competition
Ecology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Foraging ecology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Red-footed booby
Resource partitioning
Science & Technology
Summary Background Social interactions, reproductive demands and intrinsic constraints all influence foraging decisions in animals. Understanding the relative importance of these factors in shaping the way that coexisting species within communities use and partition resources is central to knowledge of ecological and evolutionary processes. However, in marine environments, our understanding of the mechanisms that lead to and allow coexistence is limited, particularly in the tropics. Methods Using simultaneous data from a suite of animal-borne data loggers (GPS, depth recorders, immersion and video), dietary samples and stable isotopes, we investigated interspecific and intraspecific differences in foraging of two closely-related seabird species (the red-footed booby and brown booby) from neighbouring colonies on the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. Results The two species employed notably different foraging strategies, with marked spatial segregation, but limited evidence of interspecific dietary partitioning. The larger-bodied brown booby foraged within neritic waters, with the smaller-bodied red-footed booby travelling further offshore. Almost no sex differences were detected in foraging behaviour of red-footed boobies, while male and female brown boobies differed in their habitat use, foraging characteristics and dietary contributions. We suggest that these behavioural differences may relate to size dimorphism and competition: In the small brown booby population (n < 200 individuals), larger females showed a higher propensity to remain in coastal waters where they experienced kleptoparasitic attacks from magnificent frigatebirds, while smaller males that were never kleptoparasitised travelled further offshore, presumably into habitats with lower kleptoparasitic pressure. In weakly dimorphic red-footed boobies, these differences are less pronounced. Instead, density-dependent pressures on their large population (n > 2000 individuals) and avoidance of kleptoparasitism may be more prevalent in driving movements for both sexes. Conclusions Our results reveal how, in an environment where opportunities for prey diversification are limited, neighbouring seabird species segregate at-sea, while exhibiting differing degrees of sexual differentiation. While the mechanisms underlying observed patterns remain unclear, our data are consistent with the idea that multiple factors involving both conspecifics and heterospecifics, as well as reproductive pressures, may combine to influence foraging differences in these neighbouring tropical species.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s40462-021-00251-z
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
0502 Environmental Science and Management
0602 Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30152153

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.