Elevated metabolic costs while resting on water in a surface feeder: the Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

Humphreys, Elizabeth M.; Wanless, Sarah; Bryant, David M.. 2007 Elevated metabolic costs while resting on water in a surface feeder: the Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. Ibis, 149 (1). 106-111.

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Measurements of the energy costs of individual behaviours provide insights into how animals trade-off resource allocation and energy acquisition decisions. The energetic costs while resting on water are poorly known for seabirds but could comprise a substantial proportion of their daily energy expenditure. We measured the cost of resting on water in Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla, a species which does not fly during the night and for which estimating energy expenditure while resting on the water is therefore important. Their resting metabolic rate on water at 12.5 °C was at least 40% higher compared with resting at the same temperature in air. This indicates that, at comparable temperatures, metabolic costs are elevated for birds resting at sea compared with on land. We argue that Kittiwakes meet much of this extra thermoregulatory demand by dedicated metabolic activity. During the winter months, their costs are likely to be even higher owing to lower sea temperatures. Accordingly, we suggest that migration to milder latitudes, following breeding, will provide enhanced benefits, particularly to seabirds such as Kittiwakes which rest on the sea surface during darkness.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0019-1019
Additional Keywords: temperature regulation, energetic implications, foraging strategies, oxygen-consumption, northern gannets, Eudyptula-minor, penguins, thermoregulation, sea, seabirds
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 24 Jan 2008 16:25 +0 (UTC)

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