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At–sea behavior varies with lunar phase in a nocturnal pelagic seabird, the swallow-tailed gull

Cruz, Sebastian M.; Hooten, Mevin; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; Proaño, Carolina B.; Anderson, David J.; Afanasyev, Vsevolod; Wikelski, Martin. 2013 At–sea behavior varies with lunar phase in a nocturnal pelagic seabird, the swallow-tailed gull. PLoS ONE, 8 (2), e56889. 8, pp. 10.1371/journal.pone.0056889

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Abstract/Summary

Strong and predictable environmental variability can reward flexible behaviors among animals. We used long-term records of activity data that cover several lunar cycles to investigate whether behavior at-sea of swallow-tailed gulls Creagrus furcatus, a nocturnal pelagic seabird, varied with lunar phase in the Galápagos Islands. A Bayesian hierarchical model showed that nighttime at-sea activity of 37 breeding swallow-tailed gulls was clearly associated with changes in moon phase. Proportion of nighttime spent on water was highest during darker periods of the lunar cycle, coinciding with the cycle of the diel vertical migration (DVM) that brings prey to the sea surface at night. Our data show that at-sea behavior of a tropical seabird can vary with environmental changes, including lunar phase.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1371/journal.pone.0056889
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Other
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License together with an author copyright. This license does not conflict with the regulations of the Crown Copyright.
Date made live: 24 Apr 2013 10:25 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/501472

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