Isotopic analysis of island house martins Delichon urbica indicates marine provenance of nutrients

Cross, A. D.P., Hentati-Sundberg, J., Österblom, H., McGill, R. A.R. and Furness, R. W. (2014) Isotopic analysis of island house martins Delichon urbica indicates marine provenance of nutrients. IBIS, 156(3), pp. 676-681. (doi:10.1111/ibi.12150) (PMID:25866414) (PMCID:PMC4384760)

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Abstract

The presence of one of the largest colonies of House Martins in Europe on the small island of Stora Karlsö, Sweden, led us to investigate the source of their food by analysis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. Carbon isotopic values of House Martin nestlings were the same as those of Common Guillemot Uria aalge nestlings fed on marine fish, but differed from local Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis nestlings fed on woodland insects. We infer that these House Martins fed their chicks almost exclusively on insects that had used nutrients derived from seabirds, indicating a dependence on the presence of a large seabird colony. We suggest by extension that some populations of island passerines of high conservation importance may also be dependent on nutrient subsidies from seabird colonies.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGill, Dr Rona and Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: Cross, A. D.P., Hentati-Sundberg, J., Österblom, H., McGill, R. A.R., and Furness, R. W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:IBIS
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISSN:0019-1019
ISSN (Online):1474-919X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in IBIS 156(3):676-681
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
500142Doctoral Training Grant 2009-16Julian DowBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/F016700/1RI MOLECULAR CELL & SYSTEMS BIOLOGY