Polar Biology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 39–46 | Cite as

Ecological structure of a pelagic seabird community in the Southern Ocean

  • A. M. Griffiths
  • W. R. Siegfried
  • R. W. Abrams


The pelagic avifauna (excluding penguins) of the African sector (30°S–70°S, 20°W–40°E) of the Southern Ocean is described quantitatively, based on 3,005 10-min observation of seabirds during seven oceanic cruises in April 1979 – April 1980. The avifauna is characterized according to species richness, diversity, abundance and biomass. These indices are correlated with groups of birds ordered into principal diet and feeding-method classes. Birds eating either plankton, cephalopods or a mixed diet accounted for 51, 23 and 22% of the total avifaunal abundance and 22, 49 and 25% of the total biomass, respectively. Piscivores were represented poorly. Planktivores were especially abundant south of the Antarctic Convergence and, to a lesser extent, at the sub-Tropical Convergence. Cephalopod-eaters were most abundant north of the sub-Tropical Convergence. The greatest abundance of omnivores occurred where planktivores and cephalopod-eaters were least abundant. The distribution of the planktivores and cephalopodeaters is related tentatively to the availability of the birds' principal prey.


Biomass Species Richness Total Biomass Southern Ocean Great Abundance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Griffiths
    • 1
  • W. R. Siegfried
    • 1
  • R. W. Abrams
    • 1
  1. 1.FitzPatrick InstituteUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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