Foraging strategies of male Adélie penguins during their first incubation trip in relation to environmental conditions
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Knowledge of habitat use by top marine predators in response to environmental conditions is crucial in the current context of global changes occurring in the Southern Ocean. We examined the at-sea locations of male Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) breeding at Dumont d’Urville during their first, long incubation trip. Compared with the chick-rearing period, penguins performed longer trips, going to oceanic waters as far as 320 km from the colony. We observed 3 strategies: (1) five individuals covered large distances to the north, targeting open-ocean areas and following the currents of two persistent eddies; (2) five individuals foraged to the north-west, close to the Antarctic shelf slope at the limit of the pack ice; and (3) three individuals covered much shorter distances (northwards or eastwards). The foraging range also seemed to be limited by the body condition of the penguins before their departure to sea.
This study was approved by the ethic committee and supported logistically and financially by the French Polar Institute (IPEV, program 137 ECOPHY-ANTAVIA) and the Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF). M. Cottin was supported by a grant from the Région Alsace. We are grateful to WWF and especially R. Downie for funding. We are indebted to M. Debin and A-M. Thierry for their great help in the field. We thank Dr. J. P. Robin for lyophilizing blood samples, P. Richard and G. Guillou for stable isotope measurements and H. Gachot-Neveu and M. Beaugey for molecular sexing. Finally, we also thank Dr. S. Aoki for explanations about oceanography parameters around Dumont d’Urville.
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