Among-year and within-population variation in foraging distribution of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis over two decades: implications for marine spatial planning

Bogdanova, M. I., Wanless, S., Harris, M. P., Lindstrom, J. , Butler, A., Newell, M. A., Sato, K., Watanuki, Y., Parsons, M. and Daunt, F. (2014) Among-year and within-population variation in foraging distribution of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis over two decades: implications for marine spatial planning. Biological Conservation, 170, pp. 292-299. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.12.025)

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Abstract

Marine spatial planning aims to deliver sustainable use of marine resources by minimizing environmental impacts of human activities and designating Marine Protected Areas. This poses a challenge where species’ distributions show spatio-temporal heterogeneity. However, due to logistic constraints and challenging timescales many studies of distribution are undertaken over few years or on a restricted subset of the population. Long-term studies can help identify the degree of uncertainty in those less comprehensive in space and time. We quantify inter-annual and sub-colony variation in the summer foraging distribution of a population of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis, using a tracking data set comprising 320 individuals and 1106 foraging trips in 15 years from 1987 to 2010. Foraging distribution over the study period was concentrated in three areas. Data from one and two years captured an average of 54% and 64% of this distribution, respectively, but it required 8 years’ data to capture over 90% of the distribution. Foraging range increased with population size when breeding success was low, suggesting interplay between extrinsic and intrinsic effects. Furthermore, females had foraging ranges on average 36% greater than males. Finally, sub-colony segregation occurred in foraging areas up to 4 km from the colony and in the most distant locations (>10 km), whilst there was considerable overlap at intermediate distances (6–10 km). Our study highlights important considerations for marine spatial planning in particular, and species conservation in general, notably the proportion of the population distribution identified, the prevailing conditions experienced and the need for balanced sampling across the population.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lindstrom, Dr Jan and Wanless, Dr Sarah and Bogdanova, Dr Maria
Authors: Bogdanova, M. I., Wanless, S., Harris, M. P., Lindstrom, J., Butler, A., Newell, M. A., Sato, K., Watanuki, Y., Parsons, M., and Daunt, F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Biological Conservation
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN:0006-3207
ISSN (Online):1873-2917
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Biological Conservation 170:292-299
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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