Advertisement

Polar Biology

, 29:717 | Cite as

Hardly hard-hearted: heart rate responses of incubating Northern Giant Petrels (Macronectes halli) to human disturbance on sub-Antarctic Marion Island

  • Marienne de Villiers
  • Mariëtte Bause
  • Melissa Giese
  • André Fourie
Short Note

Abstract

Guidelines for visitors to sub-Antarctic Marion Island recommend 15 and 100 m minimum approach distances for breeding Northern (Macronectes halli) and Southern (Macronectes giganteus) Giant Petrels, respectively. Using artificial eggs containing FM transmitters, we measured the heart rate responses of incubating Northern Giant Petrels to pedestrian approaches. The mean resting heart rate was 80 beats per minute. Heart rates increased upon the detection of a person approximately 40 m away, and continued to increase during the approach to 5 m. Maximum increases over resting heart rate in response to natural disturbances and human approach were 97 and 204%, respectively. Northern Giant Petrels appear at least as sensitive to human disturbance as their congenerics. While low-key disturbance is unlikely to affect this solitary breeder as severely as it would the colonial Southern Giant Petrel, improved protection from disturbance could be achieved by restricting human passage through breeding colonies of Northern Giant Petrels to defined paths.

Keywords

Human Disturbance Rest Heart Rate Heart Rate Response South Shetland Island Human Approach 
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.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The South African National Antarctic Programme, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism provided financial and logistic support. Anonymous reviewers are thanked for their input. Three anonymous referees are thanked for their contributions.

References

  1. Bevan RM, Woakes AJ, Butler PJ (1994) The use of heart rate to estimate oxygen consumption of free-ranging black-browed albatrosses Diomedea melanophrys. J Exp Biol 193:119–137PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cooper J, Brooke M de L, Burger AE, Crawford RJM, Hunter S, Williams AJ (2001) Aspects of the breeding biology of the Northern Giant Petrel (Macronectes halli) and the Southern Giant Petrel (M. giganteus) at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Int J Ornithol 4:53–68Google Scholar
  3. Crawford RJM, Cooper J (2003) Conserving surface-nesting seabirds at the Prince Edward Islands: the roles of research, monitoring and legislation. Afr J Mar Sci 25:415–426Google Scholar
  4. Crawford RJM, Cooper J, Dyer BM, Greyling MD, Klages NTW, Ryan PG, Petersen SL, Underhill LG, Upfold L, Wilkinson W, de Villiers MS, du Plessis S, du Toit M, Leshoro TM, Makhado AB, Mason MS, Merkle D, Tshingana D, Ward VL, Whittington PA (2003) Populations of surface-nesting seabirds at Marion Island, 1994/95–2002/03. Afr J Mar Sci 25:427–440Google Scholar
  5. Ely CR, Ward DH, Bollinger KS (1999) Behavioural correlates of heart rates of free-living greater white-fronted geese. Condor 101:390–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Giese M (1998) Guidelines for people approaching breeding groups of Adélie penguins (Psygoscelis adeliae). Polar Rec 34:287–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Giese M, Handsworth R, Stephenson R (1999) Measuring heart rates in penguins using an artificial egg. J Field Ornithol 70:49–54Google Scholar
  8. Hänel C, Chown SL (1998) An introductory guide to the Marion and Prince Edward Island Special Nature Reserves 50 years after annexation. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  9. International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (2005) International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. http://www.iaato.org/
  10. Nel DG, Ryan PG, Crawford RJM, Cooper J, Huyser OAW (2002) Population trends of albatrosses and petrels at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Polar Biol 25:81–89Google Scholar
  11. Nolet BA, Butler PJ, Masman D, Woakes AJ (1992) Estimation of daily energy expenditure from heart rate and doubly labelled water in exercising geese. Physiol Zool 65:1188–1216Google Scholar
  12. Peter H-U, Kaiser M, Gebauer A (1991) Breeding ecology of the southern giant petrels Macronectes giganteus on King George Island (South Shetland Islands, Antarctic). Zool Jahrb Syst 118:465–477Google Scholar
  13. Pfeiffer S, Peter H-U (2004) Ecological studies toward the management of an Antarctic tourist landing site (Penguin Island, South Shetland Islands). Polar Rec 40:345–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Prince Edward Islands Management Plan Working Group (1996) Prince Edward Islands Management Plan. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  15. Weimerskirch H, Shaffer SA, Mabille G, Martin J, Boutard O, Rouanet JL (2002) Heart rate and energy expenditure of incubating wandering albatrosses: basal levels, natural variation, and the effects of human disturbance. J Exp Biol 205:475–483PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Woehler EJ, Riddle MJ, Ribic CA (2003) Long term population trends in Southern Giant Petrels in East Antarctica. In: Huiskes AHL, Gieskes WWC, Rozema J, Schorno RML, van der Vies SM, Wolff WJ (eds) Antarctic biology in a global context. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp 290–295Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marienne de Villiers
    • 1
  • Mariëtte Bause
    • 1
  • Melissa Giese
    • 2
  • André Fourie
    • 3
  1. 1.Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical SciencesUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of the Environment and Heritage, Migratory and Marine Species SectionAustralian GovernmentCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Fourie de Villiers and AssociatesSomerset WestSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations