Inter- and intra-year variation in foraging areas of breeding kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla)

Robertson, G.S., Bolton, M., Grecian, W.J. and Monaghan, P. (2014) Inter- and intra-year variation in foraging areas of breeding kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla). Marine Biology, 161(9), pp. 1973-1986. (doi: 10.1007/s00227-014-2477-8) (PMID:25170176) (PMCID:PMC4139585)

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While seabird conservation efforts have largely focused on protection from threats at the colony (e.g. reducing disturbance and predation), attention is increasingly being given to implementing protection measures for foraging areas at sea. For this to be effective, important foraging areas must be identified. Although numerous studies have examined seabird foraging behaviour, information is still lacking on the variability in area utilisation within and among breeding seasons. GPS devices were attached to adult black-legged kittiwakes breeding at an expanding North Sea colony (55°20′N, 1°32′W) during both incubation and chick-rearing in 2012 and during chick-rearing in 2011, to determine whether foraging areas remained consistent and to identify the oceanographic characteristics of areas used for foraging. The type and size of prey items consumed at different stages of the breeding cycle was also examined. During incubation (April–May 2012), kittiwakes foraged substantially further from the colony and fed on larger sandeels than when feeding chicks, and there was significant inter-annual variation in foraging areas used during the chick-rearing period (June–July 2011 and 2012). Foraging areas were characterised by cooler sea surface temperatures and areas of high chlorophyll a concentration, although association with specific oceanographic features changed within the breeding season and between years. These results emphasise the importance of considering how foraging areas and reliance on specific oceanographic conditions change over time when seeking to identify important marine areas for seabirds.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bolton, Dr Mark and Monaghan, Professor Pat and Robertson, Miss Gail
Authors: Robertson, G.S., Bolton, M., Grecian, W.J., and Monaghan, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Biology
ISSN (Online):1432-1793
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Marine Biology 161(9):1973-1986
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
552641NERC DTG 2010 - 2014: FBLSMarjorie BilsboroughNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/I528369/1MVLS FINANCE