Individual migratory schedules and wintering areas of northern gannets

Kubetzki, U., Garthe, S., Fifield, D., Mendel, B. and Furness, R.W. (2009) Individual migratory schedules and wintering areas of northern gannets. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 391, pp. 257-265. (doi:10.3354/meps08254)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps08254

Abstract

Individual migratory schedules and wintering areas of northern gannets Morus bassanus were studied over 2 consecutive winters by deploying geolocation data loggers on breeding adults from the Bass Rock, UK. Northern gannets attended the breeding colony on Bass Rock until between 24 September and 16 October (median: 5 October). Afterwards, individual birds engaged in different migratory behaviour. Of the 22 birds tracked until at least December, 18% wintered in the North Sea and the English Channel, 27% in the Bay of Biscay and the Celtic Sea, 9% in the Mediterranean Sea and 45% off West Africa. Individual winter home ranges as measured by the 75% kernel density contours varied between 8100 and 308500 km2 (mean = 134000 km2). Several northern gannets migrated northwards from Bass Rock after leaving the colony for a stay of a few days to a few weeks, independent of whether they migrated to Africa or other southern areas later. Birds wintering off West Africa migrated to their wintering areas mostly within 3 to 5 wk, usually starting between early and late October. Most of these birds stayed off West Africa for a period of about 3 mo, where they remained in a relatively restricted area. Return migration was initiated between the end of January and mid-February, and took about as long as autumn migration. We conclude that individual gannets display very variable migratory behaviours, with discrete winter home ranges, and we infer that the migration habits of gannets may be changing in response to human impacts on marine ecosystems.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Seabird, migration, winter, geolocation, home range, fisheries
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Bob
Authors: Kubetzki, U., Garthe, S., Fifield, D., Mendel, B., and Furness, R.W.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Ecology Progress Series
Publisher:Inter Research
ISSN:0171-8630
ISSN (Online):1616-1599
Published Online:28 September 2009

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