Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 1055–1060 | Cite as

Composition of chick meals from one of the main little auk (Alle alle) breeding colonies in Northwest Greenland

  • M. S. FrandsenEmail author
  • J. Fort
  • F. F. Rigét
  • A. Galatius
  • A. Mosbech
Short Note


During the last decade, increasing information on little auk (Alle alle) biology, ecology and behaviour has been reported. However, only a few of these studies have focused on the breeding population in the Avanersuaq (Thule) district of Northwest Greenland, where 80 % of the global little auk population is estimated to breed. This study reports on the chick diet composition from one of the largest colonies, the Paakitsoq colony, located on the south-eastern margin of the North Water (NOW) Polynya. Results revealed the highest proportion of Calanus hyperboreus, a large lipid-rich copepod, in chick diet reported for any little auk colony. Results confirmed that the cold, highly productive waters of the NOW Polynya are favourable foraging grounds for the little auks during the breeding season. Species diversity within and between the chick meals was low, which probably reflects a high availability of a few preferred prey species. Individual chick meals were generally low in number of prey items and total energy content compared with other published results. This may be explained by a higher feeding frequency or by the samples being collected late in the breeding period (during late chick rearing), when chicks have a reduced growth rate and may require less energy than at earlier developmental stages.


Little auk Chick diet High arctic Seabirds Calanus species 



This study was funded by the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum of the Greenland Government. This work represents a contribution to the French Polar Institute ADACLIM programme. The authors are greatly thankful to Carsten Egevang for support, advice and sharing of unpublished data; Michael Dünweber, Ole Gorm Norden Andersen and Steffen Lundsteen for their help with species determination of invertebrates; Sigga E. Joensen and Lars Renvald for help with logistics and practical matters; Kasper Lambert Johansen, Allan Juhl Kristensen and Peter Lyngs for help during fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. S. Frandsen
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • J. Fort
    • 1
  • F. F. Rigét
    • 1
  • A. Galatius
    • 1
  • A. Mosbech
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Arctic Research CenterAarhus UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  3. 3.Ramboll Oil and GasCopenhagenDenmark

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