Heat stress in a high-latitude seabird: effects of temperature and food supply on bathing and nest attendance of great skuas Catharacta skua

Oswald, S.A., Bearhop, S., Furness, R.W., Huntley, B. and Hamer, K.C. (2008) Heat stress in a high-latitude seabird: effects of temperature and food supply on bathing and nest attendance of great skuas Catharacta skua. Journal of Avian Biology, 39(2), pp. 163-169. (doi:10.1111/j.2008.0908-8857.04187.x)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2008.0908-8857.04187.x

Abstract

Birds such as great skuas Catharacta skua adapted for successful breeding at high latitudes may experience problems of heat dissipation in mild climates. Great skuas spend time bathing at freshwater sites close to breeding territories and here, we examine impacts of heat stress on bathing, foraging and nest attendance of adults during three breeding seasons with marked variation in the availability of prey (1-group sandeels Ammodytes marinus). Adults exhibited diurnal variation in bathing activity that matched heat-stress conditions. Moreover more birds bathed on days of higher average heat stress, suggesting that bathing plays a role in thermoregulation. Bathing numbers were lower in years of poor food availability, when adult attendance at territories was low, probably because lower attendance reduced the opportunity for parents to bathe without leaving chicks unattended. Chicks are normally guarded by female parents and fed by males but under conditions of low food availability territorial attendance of breeding pairs was particularly low on days of high heat stress, with chicks regularly left unattended at air temperatures exceeding 14 degrees C. Unattended chicks are at risk of being killed by neighbouring conspecifics and survival of chicks to fledging was low in the two years of low sandeel stocks. Our study indicates that for great skuas, indirect effects of climate change on prey stocks and direct effects on heat stress experienced by adults may be additive

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: Oswald, S.A., Bearhop, S., Furness, R.W., Huntley, B., and Hamer, K.C.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Avian Biology
ISSN:0908-8857

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record