Moving polewards in winter: a recent change in the migratory strategy of a pelagic seabird?

Quillfeldt, P., Masello, J.F., McGill, R.A.R. , Adams, M. and Furness, R.W. (2010) Moving polewards in winter: a recent change in the migratory strategy of a pelagic seabird? Frontiers in Zoology, 7, p. 15. (doi: 10.1186/1742-9994-7-15)

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Background: During the non-breeding period, many birds migrate to milder areas, found closer to the equator than their breeding sites. Opposite movements are very rare. In the Southern Ocean, the abundance of C-13 declines markedly with more southern latitude, providing a characteristic C-13 isoscape. This can be used as a tracer for the movement of seabirds between breeding and inter-breeding areas, by comparing stable isotope ratios of feathers grown at different times of the year. Results: We studied seasonal movements of Thin-billed prions (Aves, Procellariiformes), breeding at the Subantarctic Falkland/Malvinas Islands, compared with those of Wilson's storm-petrels breeding in the Antarctic South Shetland Islands. The two species showed opposite migratory movements. While Wilson's storm-petrels moved to warmer waters north of the Drake Passage in winter, Thin-billed prions showed a reversed movement towards more polar waters. Carbon stable isotope ratios in recent and historical feathers indicated that poleward winter movements of Thin-billed prions were less common historically (45% in 1913-1915), and have only recently become dominant (92% in 2003-2005), apparently in response to warming sea temperatures. Conclusions: This study shows that pelagic seabirds can rapidly change migration strategies within populations, including migration towards more poleward waters in winter

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGill, Dr Rona and Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: Quillfeldt, P., Masello, J.F., McGill, R.A.R., Adams, M., and Furness, R.W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Frontiers in Zoology

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