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Effect of breeding performance on the distribution and activity budgets of a predominantly resident population of black-browed albatrosses.


ABSTRACT: Pelagic seabirds breeding at high latitudes generally split their annual cycle between reproduction, migration, and wintering. During the breeding season, they are constrained in their foraging range due to reproduction while during winter months, and they often undertake long-distance migrations. Black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophris) nesting in the Falkland archipelago remain within 700 km from their breeding colonies all year-round and can therefore be considered as resident. Accordingly, at-sea activity patterns are expected to be adjusted to the absence of migration. Likewise, breeding performance is expected to affect foraging, flying, and floating activities, as failed individuals are relieved from reproduction earlier than successful ones. Using geolocators coupled with a saltwater immersion sensor, we detailed the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of at-sea activity budgets of successful and failed breeding black-browed albatrosses nesting in New Island, Falklands archipelago, over the breeding and subsequent nonbreeding season. The 90% monthly kernel distribution of failed and successful breeders suggested no spatial segregation. Both groups followed the same dynamics of foraging effort both during daylight and darkness all year, except during chick-rearing, when successful breeders foraged more intensively. Failed and successful breeders started decreasing flying activities during daylight at the same time, 2-3 weeks after hatching period, but failed breeders reached their maximum floating activity during late chick-rearing, 2 months before successful breeders. Moon cycle had a significant effect on activity budgets during darkness, with individuals generally more active during full moon. Our results highlight that successful breeders buffer potential reproductive costs during the nonbreeding season, and this provides a better understanding of how individuals adjust their spatial distribution and activity budgets according to their breeding performance in absence of migration.

SUBMITTER: Ponchon A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6686306 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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