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Behavioural flexibility during year-round foraging in macaroni penguins

Green, J.A.; Boyd, I.L.; Woakes, A.J.; Warren, N.L.; Butler, P.J.. 2005 Behavioural flexibility during year-round foraging in macaroni penguins. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 296. 183-196. 10.3354/meps296183

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Abstract/Summary

Penguins are major consumers in the marine environment. However, like many top predators, very little information exists on their foraging behaviour outside the breeding season. We investigated the foraging behaviour of the macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus continuously for 2 consecutive years, from the end of December 2001. This allowed us to investigate whether foraging behaviour varied between sexes, years or phases of the annual cycle. Male penguins tended to dive deeper and longer than female penguins, but at a lower frequency, probably as a result of their larger body size. There was little variation in foraging behaviour between the 2 years studied, although neither year included a notable period of low Antarctic krill abundance. Diving behaviour varied substantially within years and general linear models were used to investigate this variability. In summary, all penguins tended to dive deeper, longer and more efficiently during their winter migration than during the summer breeding season. The penguins dived predominantly during daylight hours at all times of the year, but appeared to be more constrained by daylight during the short winter days. Several diving variables including dive duration, dive rate and amount of time spent diving were significantly related to day length and these associations were stronger during winter than summer. The macaroni penguin shows flexibility in its foraging behaviour as it adapts to differing constraints and challenges during its annual cycle.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3354/meps296183
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Dynamics and Management of Ocean Ecosystems
ISSN: 0171-8630
Additional Keywords: Eudyptes chrysolophus, Diving
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Date made live: 24 Dec 2007 11:32
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/1794

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