Strange lights in the night: using abnormal peaks of light in geolocator data to infer interaction of seabirds with nocturnal fishing vessels
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Many seabird species forage at night and potentially interact with nocturnal fishing activities. Jigging fisheries use powerful lights to attract squid, and such high intensity lights can be recorded using global location-sensing loggers (geolocators) attached to seabirds. We use this potential source of information as evidence for interaction of southern giant petrels Macronectes giganteus with night fisheries during the non-breeding season. We compared the number of light spikes at night between sexes and evaluated whether the intensity of the light on those geolocator records matched periods of water immersion (wet–dry) of geolocators, as a measure of foraging activity. Females had more night light spikes than males, and although the activity on water was higher during nights with light spikes than nights without light spikes for both sexes, females had a higher probability to be resting on the water when peaks of light were higher. Females moved further north than males and used areas of higher squid fishery activities within Patagonian waters. This type of information is useful to record potential interactions with night fisheries and proposes that future studies should relate the accurate distribution of individuals (from GPS loggers) with light information (geolocators data) to highlight this undocumented interaction. Southern giant petrels are recognized as interacting intensively with fisheries off Patagonia waters with consequences for population dynamics (e.g. mortality through bycatch events).
KeywordsAntarctica Light sensor data Remote sensing Seabird ecology Spatial ecology Squid fisheries
LK acknowledges the National Council of Technological and Scientific Development CNPq for his Ph.D. scholarship (Programa Ciência sem Fronteiras processo 245540/2012-1). VHP acknowledges the postdoctoral grant given by ‘Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia’ (SFRH/BPD/85024/2012). We acknowledge the Brazilian Navy for field research support in Antarctica. The project received funding from the National Institute of Science and Technology Antarctic Environmental Research (INCT-APA) that receives scientific and financial support from the National Council for Research and Development (CNPq Process: No. 574018/2008-5) and Carlos Chagas Research Support Foundation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ No. E-16/170.023/2008). The authors also acknowledge the support of the Brazilian Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), of Environment (MMA) and Inter-Ministry Commission for Sea Resources (CIRM). This study benefited from the strategic program of MARE, financed by FCT (MARE—UID/MAR/04292/2013). LK thanks Julia Finger, Elisa Petersen and colleagues for field work support. Authors acknowledge Naomi Tremble for English review.
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