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Polar Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 49–67 | Cite as

Intra-seasonal variation in foraging behavior among Adélie penguins (Pygocelis adeliae) breeding at Cape Hallett, Ross Sea, Antarctica

  • P. O’B. Lyver
  • C. J. MacLeod
  • G. Ballard
  • B. J. Karl
  • K. J. Barton
  • J. Adams
  • D. G. Ainley
  • P. R. Wilson
Original Paper

Abstract

We investigated intra-seasonal variation in foraging behavior of chick-rearing Adélie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae, during two consecutive summers at Cape Hallett, northwestern Ross Sea. Although foraging behavior of this species has been extensively studied throughout the broad continental shelf region of the Ross Sea, this is the first study to report foraging behaviors and habitat affiliations among birds occupying continental slope waters. Continental slope habitat supports the greatest abundances of this species throughout its range, but we lack information about how intra-specific competition for prey might affect foraging and at-sea distribution and how these attributes compare with previous Ross Sea studies. Foraging trips increased in both distance and duration as breeding advanced from guard to crèche stage, but foraging dive depth, dive rates, and vertical dive distances travelled per hour decreased. Consistent with previous studies within slope habitats elsewhere in Antarctic waters, Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) dominated chick meal composition, but fish increased four-fold from guard to crèche stages. Foraging-, focal-, and core areas all doubled during the crèche stage as individuals shifted distribution in a southeasterly direction away from the coast while simultaneously becoming more widely dispersed (i.e., less spatial overlap among individuals). Intra-specific competition for prey among Adélie penguins appears to influence foraging behavior of this species, even in food webs dominated by Antarctic krill.

Keywords

Adélie penguin Foraging Intra-seasonal competition Pack ice Antarctic krill Antarctic silverfish 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the following persons for planning and field assistance: Peter Dilks, Shulamit Gordon, Rachel Brown and Gus McAlister. Antarctica New Zealand provided extensive logistic support for the NZ Adélie Penguin Program (K122b) through their Latitudinal Gradient Program, while the US Antarctic Program supported members from the US Adélie Penguin Program (B031). This project was funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (C09X0510) and Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation (OPP 0125608, 0440643). Draft manuscripts received valuable review from the editor and three anonymous referees. Reference to trade names does not imply endorsement of these products.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. O’B. Lyver
    • 1
  • C. J. MacLeod
    • 2
  • G. Ballard
    • 3
    • 4
  • B. J. Karl
    • 1
  • K. J. Barton
    • 5
  • J. Adams
    • 6
  • D. G. Ainley
    • 7
  • P. R. Wilson
    • 8
  1. 1.Landcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand
  2. 2.Landcare ResearchDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.PRBO Conservation SciencePetalumaUSA
  4. 4.Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  5. 5.Landcare Research, Nelson Mail CentreNelsonNew Zealand
  6. 6.Western Ecological Research CenterUS Geological Survey, Pacific Science CenterSanta CruzUSA
  7. 7.H.T Harvey and AssociatesLos GatosUSA
  8. 8.St Heliers, AucklandNew Zealand

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