Effects of attached data-logging devices on little penguins (Eudyptula minor)
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- Agnew, P., Lalas, C., Wright, J. et al. Mar Biol (2013) 160: 2375. doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2231-7
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Data-logging devices are commonly used to study the foraging behaviour of individual seabirds. Such studies need to examine the potential effects of using devices on instrumented individuals, not only for ethical reasons but also to ensure the validity of data gathered. We studied the effects of two types of device (time-depth recorder and global positioning system) on little penguins (Eudyptula minor) during the 2010 and 2011 breeding season at Oamaru, New Zealand. Mixed-effect models were used to test for effects of devices by comparing changes in body weight, chick growth and breeding performance between instrumented and control individuals. We found no detectable effects of the attached devices on body weight change, hatching success, fledging success, chick growth parameters or adult survival. We conclude that it is possible to attach data-logging devices to adult little penguins for extended periods during the breeding season with minimal impacts.