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Responses of seabirds, in particular prions (Pachyptila sp.), to small-scale processes in the Antarctic Polar Front

Van Franeker, J.A.; Van Den Brink, N.W.; Bathmann, U.V.; Pollard, R.T.; De Baar, H.J.W.; Wolff, W.J.. 2002 Responses of seabirds, in particular prions (Pachyptila sp.), to small-scale processes in the Antarctic Polar Front. Deep-Sea Research II, 49 (18). 3931-3950. 10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00118-2

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Abstract/Summary

Small-scale distribution patterns of seabirds in the Antarctic Polar Front (APF) were investigated in relation to other biological, physical, and chemical features during the ANT-XIII/2 research cruise of R.V. Polarstern from December 1995 to January 1996. The APF is characterized by steep gradients in sea-surface temperature and salinity. Within the APF, gradient zones were closely associated with elevated levels of primary production, chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentrations, and zooplankton densities. Even broad-billed prions (‘Pachyptila vittata-group’), which dominated the seabird community by 83% in carbon requirements, showed small-scale distributional patterns that were positively related to primary production, chl-a, and total zooplankton densities. The findings demonstrate a close, direct link between fine-scale physical processes in the APF and biological activity through several food web levels up to that of zooplankton-eating seabirds. Broad-billed prions appeared to forage on very small copepods (Oithona spp.) in close association with the front. Fish- and squid-eating predators showed poor correlations with small-scale spatial structures of the APF. However, in a wider band around the APF, most top predators did occur in elevated densities, showing gradual spatio-temporal diffusion of the impact of the APF on higher trophic levels.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00118-2
ISSN: 0967-0645
Date made live: 10 Sep 2008 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/163102

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