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Winter distribution and behaviour of gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua at South Georgia

Tanton, Jane L.; Reid, Keith; Croxall, John P.; Trathan, Phil N.. 2004 Winter distribution and behaviour of gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua at South Georgia. Polar Biology, 27 (5). 299-303. 10.1007/s00300-004-0592-6

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Abstract/Summary

Knowledge of the spatial and temporal dynamics of foraging penguins is important to our understanding of the Southern Ocean marine ecosystem. We use satellite tracking to provide the first data on the distribution and behaviour of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) during the winter at South Georgia. Five penguins tracked from Bird Island remained close inshore, and although they did not return to the initial tagging site, they did appear to return to land each evening. They made diurnal trips to sea of similar distance from land as those during the breeding season, even though the constraints of chick rearing were absent. Despite potential greater flexibility in their responses to variations in prey availability in winter, the penguins still returned to land each night. This may reflect benefits from conserving energy by resting on land, possibly facilitating information exchange and avoiding predation. The distribution and behaviour of gentoo penguins during the winter enables efficient exploitation of a dynamic, patchy prey resource and may ultimately determine the timing of return to the colony, and onset of breeding in the following season.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s00300-004-0592-6
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Dynamics and Management of Ocean Ecosystems
ISSN: 0722-4060
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 15 Mar 2012 09:46
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/12466

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